Metabolism has recently emerged as an essential mechanism that regulates the immune system. Studies in healthy mice and, to a lesser extent, humans, have defined the metabolism of immune cells in response to various challenges. It is increasingly recognized that the overactive immune system that drives autoimmune diseases presents metabolic abnormalities that offer therapeutic opportunities. These novel therapeutic venues are supported by a few studies using metabolic inhibitors in mouse models and in small clinical trials. Reaching the full potential of targeting immuno-metabolism in autoimmune diseases requires a systemic cell-specific characterization of metabolic pathways in mouse models and cells from patients. Here, we review recent reports of immuno-metabolic alterations in autoimmune diseases, as well as alterations in immune effector pathways that have been implicated in autoimmunity, with a focus on systemic lupus erythematosus.
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