Investigative ophthalmology & visual science

Inflammasomes Induced by 7-Ketocholesterol and Other Stimuli in RPE and in Bone Marrow-Derived Cells Differ Markedly in Their Production of IL-1β and IL-18.

PMID 25678688


The inflammatory process plays a major role in the pathogenesis of AMD, and recent data indicate the involvement of inflammasomes. Inflammasomes are intracellular structures that trigger inflammation by producing mature interleukin-(IL)-1β and IL-18. This study examined the capacity of 7-ketocholesterol (7KCh), an oxysterol that accumulates in the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) and choroid, to initiate inflammasome formation in RPE and bone marrow-derived cells. Tested cells included fetal human RPE (fhRPE), human ARPE-19 cells, primary human brain microglia cells, and human THP-1 monocyte cells. 7-Ketocholesterol and other compounds were added to the cell cultures, and their stimulatory effects were determined by quantitative PCR and release of cytokines, measured by ELISA and Western blotting. 7-Ketocholesterol efficiently induced inflammasome formation by all primed cell populations, but secreted cytokine levels were higher in cultures of bone marrow-derived cells (microglia and THP-1 cells) than in RPE cultures. Interestingly, inflammasomes formed in cells of the two populations differed strikingly in their preferential production of the two cytokines. Thus, whereas bone marrow-derived cells produced levels of IL-1β that were higher than those of IL-18, the opposite was found with RPE cells, which secreted higher levels of IL-18. Importantly, Western blot analysis showed that IL-18, but not IL-1β, was expressed constitutively by RPE cells. 7-Ketocholesterol efficiently stimulates inflammasome formation and is conceivably involved in the pathogenesis of AMD. In contrast to bone marrow-derived cells, RPE cells produced higher levels of IL-18 than IL-1β. Further, IL-18, a multifunctional cytokine, was expressed constitutively by RPE cells. These observations provide new information about stimuli and cells and their products assumed to be involved in the pathogenesis of AMD.

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5-Cholesten-3β-ol-7-one, ≥90%