Metabolic pathways are now well recognized as important regulators of immune differentiation and activation, and thus influence the development of autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) has emerged as a key sensor of metabolic stress and an important mediator of proinflammatory lineage specification. Metabolic pathways control the production of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS), which promote mTOR activation and also modulate the antigenicity of proteins, lipids, and DNA, thus placing ROS at the heart of metabolic disturbances during pathogenesis of SLE. Therefore, we review here the pathways that control ROS production and mTOR activation and identify targets for safe therapeutic modulation of the signaling network that underlies autoimmune diseases, focusing on SLE.
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