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J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2013 Sep;346(3):465-72. doi: 10.1124/jpet.113.205732. Epub 2013 Jul 5.

NLRP3 inflammasome knockout mice are protected against ischemic but not cisplatin-induced acute kidney injury.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University Hospital Dubrava, Zagreb, Croatia.


We have demonstrated that caspase-1 is a mediator of both cisplatin-induced acute kidney injury (AKI) and ischemic AKI. As caspase-1 is activated in the inflammasome, we investigated the inflammasome in cisplatin-induced and ischemic AKI. Mice were injected with cisplatin or subjected to bilateral renal pedicle clamping. Immunoblot analysis of whole kidney after cisplatin-induced AKI revealed: 1) an increase in apoptosis-associated Speck-like protein containing a caspase recruitment domain (ASC), the major protein that complexes with nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain, leucine-rich repeat and pyrin domain containing proteins (NLRP) 1 or 3 to form the inflammasome; 2) an increase in caspase-1 activity, caspase-5, and NLRP1, components of the NLRP1 inflammasome; and 3) a trend toward increased NLRP3. To determine whether the NLRP3 inflammasome plays an injurious role in cisplatin-induced AKI, we studied NLRP knockout (NLRP3(-/-)) mice. In cisplatin-induced AKI, the blood urea nitrogen, serum creatinine, acute tubular necrosis score, and tubular apoptosis score were not significantly decreased in NALP3(-/-) mice compared with wild-type mice. We have previously demonstrated the injurious role of caspase-1 in ischemic AKI. NLRP3, but not ASC or NLRP1, is increased in ischemic AKI. NLRP3(-/-) mice with ischemic AKI had significantly lower blood urea nitrogen, serum creatinine, and acute tubular necrosis and apoptosis scores than the wild-type controls. The difference in protection against cisplatin-induced AKI compared with ischemic AKI in NLRP3(-/-) mice was not explained by the differences in proinflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 1, or tumor necrosis factor α. NLRP3 inflammasome is a mediator of ischemic AKI but not cisplatin-induced AKI, and further investigation of the NLRP1 inflammasome in cisplatin-induced AKI should prove interesting.

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