BACKGROUND: Attenuated innate immune responses to the intestinal microbiota have been linked to the pathogenesis of Crohn's disease (CD). Recent genetic studies have revealed that hypofunctional mutations of NLRP3, a member of the NOD-like receptor (NLR) superfamily, are associated with an increased risk of developing CD. NLRP3 is a key component of the inflammasome, an intracellular danger sensor of the innate immune system. When activated, the inflammasome triggers caspase-1-dependent processing of inflammatory mediators, such as IL-1β and IL-18.
METHODS: In the current study we sought to assess the role of the NLRP3 inflammasome in the maintenance of intestinal homeostasis through its regulation of innate protective processes. To investigate this role, Nlrp3(-/-) and wildtype mice were assessed in the dextran sulfate sodium and 2,4,6-trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid models of experimental colitis.
RESULTS: Nlrp3(-/-) mice were found to be more susceptible to experimental colitis, an observation that was associated with reduced IL-1β, reduced antiinflammatory cytokine IL-10, and reduced protective growth factor TGF-β. Macrophages isolated from Nlrp3(-/-) mice failed to respond to bacterial muramyl dipeptide. Furthermore, Nlrp3-deficient neutrophils exhibited reduced chemotaxis and enhanced spontaneous apoptosis, but no change in oxidative burst. Lastly, Nlrp3(-/-) mice displayed altered colonic β-defensin expression, reduced colonic antimicrobial secretions, and a unique intestinal microbiota.
CONCLUSIONS: Our data confirm an essential role for the NLRP3 inflammasome in the regulation of intestinal homeostasis and provide biological insight into disease mechanisms associated with increased risk of CD in individuals with NLRP3 mutations.
The NLRP3 inflammasome promotes renal inflammation and contributes to CKD
Vilaysane A, Chun J, Seamone ME, Wang W, Chin R, Hirota S, Li Y, Clark SA, Tschopp J, Trpkov K, Hemmelgarn BR, Beck PL, Muruve DA.
J Am Soc Nephrol. 2010 Oct;21(10):1732-44. Epub 2010 Aug 5. PubMed PMID: 20688930; PubMed Central PMCID:PMC3013544
Inflammation significantly contributes to the progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Inflammasome-dependent cytokines, such as IL-1β and IL-18, play a role in CKD, but their regulation during renal injury is unknown. Here, we analyzed the processing of caspase-1, IL-1β, and IL-18 after unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) in mice, which suggested activation of the Nlrp3 inflammasome during renal injury. Compared with wild-type mice, Nlrp3(-/-) mice had less tubular injury, inflammation, and fibrosis after UUO, associated with a reduction in caspase-1 activation and maturation of IL-1β and IL-18; these data confirm that the Nlrp3 inflammasome upregulates these cytokines in the kidney during injury. Bone marrow chimeras revealed that Nlrp3 mediates the injurious/inflammatory processes in both hematopoietic and nonhematopoietic cellular compartments. In tissue from human renal biopsies, a wide variety of nondiabetic kidney diseases exhibited increased expression of NLRP3 mRNA, which correlated with renal function. Taken together, these results strongly support a role for NLRP3 in renal injury and identify the inflammasome as a possible therapeutic target in the treatment of patients with progressive CKD.
Clostridium difficile toxin-induced inflammation and intestinal injury are mediated by the inflammasome
Ng J, Hirota SA, Gross O, Li Y, Ulke-Lemee A, Potentier MS, Schenck LP, Vilaysane A, Seamone ME, Feng H, Armstrong GD, Tschopp J, Macdonald JA, Muruve DA, Beck PL.
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Clostridium difficile-associated disease (CDAD) is the leading cause of nosocomial diarrhea in the United States. C difficile toxins TcdA and TcdB breach the intestinal barrier and trigger mucosal inflammation and intestinal damage. The inflammasome is an intracellular danger sensor of the innate immune system. In the present study, we hypothesize that TcdA and TcdB trigger inflammasome-dependent interleukin (IL)-1beta production, which contributes to the pathogenesis of CDAD.
METHODS: Macrophages exposed to TcdA and TcdB were assessed for IL-1beta production, an indication of inflammasome activation. Macrophages deficient in components of the inflammasome were also assessed. Truncated/mutated forms of TcdB were assessed for their ability to activate the inflammasome. The role of inflammasome signaling in vivo was assessed in ASC-deficient and IL-1 receptor antagonist-treated mice.
RESULTS: TcdA and TcdB triggered inflammasome activation and IL-1beta secretion in macrophages and human mucosal biopsy specimens. Deletion of Nlrp3 decreased, whereas deletion of ASC completely abolished, toxin-induced IL-1beta release. TcdB-induced IL-1beta release required recognition of the full-length toxin but not its enzymatic function. In vivo, deletion of ASC significantly reduced toxin-induced inflammation and damage, an effect that was mimicked by pretreatment with the IL-1 receptor antagonist anakinra.
CONCLUSIONS: TcdA and TcdB trigger IL-1beta release by activating an ASC-containing inflammasome, a response that contributes to toxin-induced inflammation and damage in vivo. Pretreating mice with the IL-1 receptor antagonist anakinra afforded the same level of protection that was observed in ASC-/- mice. These data suggest that targeting inflammasome or IL-1beta signaling may represent new therapeutic targets in the treatment of CDAD.