The NLRP3 inflammasome is essential for IL-18 production in a murine model of macrophage activation syndrome.

Tara A. Gleeson, Christina Kaiser, Catherine B. Lawrence, David Brough, Stuart M. Allan, Jack P. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Hyperinflammatory disease is associated with an aberrant immune response resulting in cytokine storm. One such instance of hyperinflammatory disease is known as macrophage activation syndrome (MAS). The pathology of MAS can be characterised by significantly elevated serum levels of interleukin (IL)-18 and interferon (IFN)-γ. Given the role for IL-18 in MAS, we sought to establish the role of inflammasomes in the disease process. Using a murine model of CpG-DNA induced MAS, we discovered that the expression of the NLRP3 inflammasome was increased and correlated with IL-18 production. Inhibition of the NLRP3 inflammasome, or downstream caspase-1, prevented MAS-mediated upregulation of plasma IL-18 but interestingly did not alleviate key features of hyperinflammatory disease including hyperferritinaemia and splenomegaly. Furthermore IL-1 receptor blockade with IL-1Ra did not prevent the development of CpG-induced MAS, despite being clinically effective in the
treatment of MAS. These data demonstrate that in the development of MAS, the NLRP3 inflammasome was essential for the elevation in plasma IL-18, a key cytokine in clinical cases of MAS, but was not a driving factor in the pathogenesis of CpG-induced MAS.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDisease Models & Mechanisms
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2024

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