An Inflammasome-Independent Role for Epithelial-Expressed Nlrp3 in Renal Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury

Department of Immunology and Microbial Sciences, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.
The Journal of Immunology (Impact Factor: 5.36). 10/2010; 185(10):6277-85. DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.1002330
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Cytoplasmic innate immune receptors are important therapeutic targets for diseases associated with overproduction of proinflammatory cytokines. One cytoplasmic receptor complex, the Nlrp3 inflammasome, responds to an extensive array of molecules associated with cellular stress. Under normal conditions, Nlrp3 is autorepressed, but in the presence of its ligands, it oligomerizes, recruits apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a caspase recruitment domain (Asc), and triggers caspase 1 activation and the maturation of proinflammatory cytokines such as IL-1β and IL-18. Because ischemic tissue injury provides a potential source for Nlrp3 ligands, our study compared and contrasted the effects of renal ischemia in wild-type mice and mice deficient in components of the Nlrp3 inflammasome (Nlrp3(-/-) and Asc(-/-) mice). To examine the role of the inflammasome in renal ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) we also tested its downstream targets caspase 1, IL-1β, and IL-18. Both Nlrp3 and Asc were highly expressed in renal tubular epithelium of humans and mice, and the absence of Nlrp3, but not Asc or the downstream inflammasome targets, dramatically protected from kidney IRI. We conclude that Nlrp3 contributes to renal IRI by a direct effect on renal tubular epithelium and that this effect is independent of inflammasome-induced proinflammatory cytokine production.

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