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J Clin Invest. 2006 Oct;116(10):2633-42. Epub 2006 Sep 14.

Selective tyrosine kinase inhibition by imatinib mesylate for the treatment of autoimmune arthritis.

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  • 1Division of Immunology and Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA.

Abstract

Tyrosine kinases play a central role in the activation of signal transduction pathways and cellular responses that mediate the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis. Imatinib mesylate (imatinib) is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor developed to treat Bcr/Abl-expressing leukemias and subsequently found to treat c-Kit-expressing gastrointestinal stromal tumors. We demonstrate that imatinib potently prevents and treats murine collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). We further show that micromolar concentrations of imatinib abrogate multiple signal transduction pathways implicated in RA pathogenesis, including mast cell c-Kit signaling and TNF-alpha release, macrophage c-Fms activation and cytokine production, and fibroblast PDGFR signaling and proliferation. In our studies, imatinib attenuated PDGFR signaling in fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) and TNF-alpha production in synovial fluid mononuclear cells (SFMCs) derived from human RA patients. Imatinib-mediated inhibition of a spectrum of signal transduction pathways and the downstream pathogenic cellular responses may provide a powerful approach to treat RA and other inflammatory diseases.

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