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Kidney international

The NLRP3/ASC inflammasome promotes T-cell-dependent immune complex glomerulonephritis by canonical and noncanonical mechanisms.


PMID 24805106

Abstract

Interleukin (IL)-1β contributes to renal injury in immune complex glomerulonephritis. However, production of mature IL-1β depends on activation of the inflammasome that cleaves pro-IL-1β into its secretable form. A functional role of the NLRP3-containing inflammasome, which responds to various endogenous danger signals, was found in tubulointerstitial nephropathies, but its function in glomerular disease has not been established. To determine whether NLRP3 and its adapter molecule ASC contribute to glomerulonephritis, we induced T-cell-dependent autologous nephrotoxic serum nephritis in Nlrp3- and Asc-deficient mice. Renal expression of NLRP3/ASC inflammasome components and pro-IL-1β increased during nephrotoxic serum nephritis and was abundant in renal dendritic cells. This was associated with renal production of mature IL-1β, indicating inflammasome activation. Nlrp3 and Asc deficiency significantly attenuated glomerular injury, renal leukocyte infiltration, and T-cell activation. Production of mature IL-1β was abrogated in Asc-deficient mice, consistent with a loss of inflammasome-dependent IL-1β activation. Surprisingly, renal IL-1β secretion remained intact in Nlrp3-deficient mice, indicating noncanonical pro-inflammatory effects of NLRP3 in autologous nephrotoxic serum nephritis. This may include NLRP3-mediated glomerular release of pro-inflammatory high-mobility group box 1 protein as a noncanonical function of NLRP3/ASC in glomerulonephritis. Thus, therapeutic blockade of the NLRP3/ASC/IL-1β axis may be beneficial in glomerulonephritis.