Metformin inhibits the proliferation of rheumatoid arthritis fibroblast-like synoviocytes through IGF-IR/PI3K/AKT/m-TOR pathway.


Department of Orthopedics, Zhujiang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 510282, China. Electronic address: [Email]


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease in which synovial fibroblast-like cells (FLSs) play an important role in RA development and is known to be lack of effective therapy. Thus, novel therapeutic strategies are greatly needed for treatment of RA. Metformin, a first-line drug for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, has been reported to inhibit the proliferation of a variety of tumor cells. In this study, we demonstrated that metformin could inhibit the RA-FLS proliferation in dose- and time-dependent manner. Our cell viability MTT test and 5-ethynyl-2-deoxyuridine incorporation assay showed that metformin inhibited the RA-FLSs proliferation with a time- and concentration-dependent increase. More importantly, metformin induced G2/M cell cycle phase arrest in RA-FLS via the IGF-IR/PI3K/AKT/ m-TOR pathway and inhibited m-TOR phosphorylation through both the IGF-IR/PI3K/AKT signaling pathways thereby further upregulating and down-regulating p70s6k and 4E-BP1 phosphorylation, respectively; however, metformin was found not to induce apoptosis in RA-FLSs. In summary, these results demonstrate that metformin can effectively inhibit RA-FLS proliferation through inducing cell cycle and upregulating and down-regulating p70s6k and 4E-BP1 phosphorylation. Moreover, IGF-IR/PI3K/AKT m-TOR signaling pathway can be regulated by metformin. Our results indicate that metformin may provide a new way of thinking for the treatment of RA.


Cell cycle,Fibroblast-like synoviocytes,IGF-IR /PI3K/AKT/ mTOR pathway,Metformin,Proliferation,Rheumatoid arthritis,