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We and others have previously demonstrated that methotrexate (MTX) mediates its anti-inflammatory effects through an increase in cellular release of adenosine. Consistent with this observation, there is no increase in adenosine from exudates of mouse strains resistant to MTX. Because intracellular MTX polyglutamates inhibit AICAR transformylase (ATIC) activity and thereby promote adenosine release we determined whether there is any difference in the capacity of cells from MTX-resistant mice to accumulate MTX polyglutamates. Dermal fibroblasts (DF) from BALBc, MTX-sensitive, and DBA/1J, MTX-resistant, mice were cultured in the presence or absence of MTX. Adenosine concentration in the supernatant and intracellular MTX polyglutamate (MTXPG1-5) concentrations were measured by liquid chromatography. ATIC activity in DF was monitored spectrophotometrically by the formation of formytetrahydrofolate. MTX (1 μM) increased adenosine production by DF from BALBc sensitive-mice from 269±40 nM to 446±4 nM. No adenosine production was found in supernates of cultured DF from DBA/1J mice regardless of MTX treatment. Intracellular MTX polyglutamates (MTXPG2-4) were detected only in BALBc DFs, not in DBA/1J DF. Further investigation demonstrated that ATIC activity was inhibited following MTX treatment in DF from BALBc mice. These data suggest that resistance to the anti-inflammatory effects of MTX could be due to diminished MTX polyglutamate accumulation resulting in diminished ATIC inhibition and adenosine accumulation.


Xin You, Adrienne Williams, Thierry Dervieux, Wenjie He, Bruce N Cronstein. Fibroblasts from methotrexate-sensitive mice accumulate methotrexate polyglutamates but those from methotrexate-resistant mice do not. Clinical and experimental rheumatology. 2013 May-Jun;31(3):433-5

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PMID: 23464989

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