Human rheumatoid synovial lining cells have up to four times the capacity to oxidize glucose 6-phosphate, the first step of the hexose monophosphate pathway, as do the nonrheumatoid cells. The reducing equivalents produced by this system have many significant metabolic effects. Exposure of these cells by 10(-5) M prednisolone in vitro, or to 6 mg/day in vivo, causes some depression of this activity in the rheumatoid synovial lining cells; less than this dose of steroid, or the administration of nonsteroidal drugs in vivo, has little or no effect. The depression of activity produced by 6 mg/day does not bring this activity down to the value found in nonrheumatoid synoviocytes.
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