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J Immunol. 2009 Aug 1;183(3):1528-32. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.0901080. Epub 2009 Jul 13.

Cutting edge: Necrosis activates the NLRP3 inflammasome.

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  • 1Department Molecular Sciences, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN 38163, USA.


Cells undergoing necrosis release endogenous danger signals that possess proinflammatory potential. In this study we show that mature IL-1beta and IL-18 are released by necrotic cells but not by apoptotic cells. We identify 7-bromoindirubin-3'-oxime, an indirubin oxime derivative that induces necrosis, as a potent inducer of caspase-1 activation and release of mature IL-1beta and IL-18. Inflammasome activation was triggered by other necrosis-inducing treatments but was not observed in response to apoptosis-inducing stimuli. Necrosis-induced inflammasome activation was mediated by the NLRP3 and ASC molecules. Release of IL-18 and IL-1beta in response to necrosis-inducing stimuli was observed in THP-1 macrophages and the MSTO-211H human mesothelioma cell line independently of LPS priming. Using the in vivo model of naphthalene-induced airway epithelial cell injury, we showed that necrosis activates the ASC inflammasome in vivo. Our study identifies a new mechanism through which necrosis generates proinflammatory molecules that contributes to the sterile inflammatory response.

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