Inflammatory bone destruction is a prominent feature and a cause of substantial morbidity in several inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA), periodontitis, and peri-prosthetic loosening. Osteoclasts are unique, multinucleated giant cells that effectively resorb bone and thus are directly responsible for bone destruction in several inflammatory diseases. PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway has been well known to play important roles in regulating adaptive and innate immune cell function. In addition to play roles in immune responses, several lines of evidence demonstrate that PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway is critical for osteoclast differentiation and survival. These results suggest that inhibition of PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway could protect against bone destruction in inflammatory diseases, including RA. However, the clinical use of mTOR inhibitors may be hampered due to limited clinical efficacy and frequent toxic side effects. In the treatment of RA, combination therapy with various disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) has been suggested to improve the therapeutic efficacy and limit the side effects. In this report, we show several experimental evidences that vitamin D(3) modulates mTOR pathway, and present a hypothesis that the combination of mTOR inhibitor and vitamin D(3) can effectively inhibit osteoclast differentiation and function in chronic inflammatory condition such as RA, therefore this combination will be a powerful therapeutic regimen in preventing the inflammation-induced bone destruction in RA.
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