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DOI: 10.3390/ph14050463; PMCID: PMC8156207


Inside cells, the immunomodulator methotrexate (MTX) undergoes the addition of glutamates to form methotrexate polyglutamates (MTX-Glu)-promising biomarkers of systemic exposure and treatment response to MTX in rheumatology. MTX-Glu are underexplored in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), with no data in pediatrics. In this cross-sectional secondary analysis, we assessed the relationships between MTX-Glu and MTX dose and treatment response in pediatric IBD. Twenty-one children with IBD, receiving maintenance therapy with infliximab (IFX) and MTX, had MTX-Glu1-6 concentrations and IFX troughs/antibodies measured and disease activity assessed for comparison in remission vs. active IBD using non-parametric tests, with associations explored using Spearman's correlation (ρ) and regression analyses; SASv9.4 (α = 0.05). Total and long-chain MTX-Glu correlated with MTX dose (ρ = 0.51 and 0.56, respectively; p ≤ 0.02). In children with Crohn's disease (n = 19), short-chain MTX-Glu1-2 were 2.5-fold higher in remission vs. active disease, approaching statistical significance (p = 0.066), with no statistical differences in IFX trough (p = 0.549) between groups. Our study highlights a potential role for long-chain MTX-Glu in the therapeutic drug monitoring of MTX in IBD. It is the first study in pediatric IBD and, although statistical significance was not reached, our findings also suggest that higher short-chain MTX-Glu levels may be associated with IBD treatment response to MTX in children.

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Pharmaceuticals (Basel)





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Crohn’s disease; inflammatory bowel disease; infliximab; methotrexate; methotrexate polyglutamates; pediatric; ulcerative colitis


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