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Immunity. 2010 Mar 26;32(3):367-78. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2010.02.012. Epub 2010 Mar 11.

Control of intestinal homeostasis, colitis, and colitis-associated colorectal cancer by the inflammatory caspases.

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Department of Biochemistry, McGill University, Quebec, Canada.


Inflammatory caspases are essential effectors of inflammation and cell death. Here, we investigated their roles in colitis and colorectal cancer and report a bimodal regulation of intestinal homeostasis, inflammation and tumorigenesis by caspases-1 and -12. Casp1(-/-) mice exhibited defects in mucosal tissue repair and succumbed rapidly after dextran sulfate sodium administration. This phenotype was rescued by administration of exogenous interleukin-18 and was partially reproduced in mice deficient in the inflammasome adaptor ASC. Casp12(-/-) mice, in which the inflammasome is derepressed, were resistant to acute colitis and showed signs of enhanced repair. Together with their increased inflammatory response, the enhanced repair response of Casp12(-/-) mice rendered them more susceptible to colorectal cancer induced by azoxymethane (AOM)+DSS. Taken together, our results indicate that the inflammatory caspases are critical in the induction of inflammation in the gut after injury, which is necessary for tissue repair and maintenance of immune tolerance.

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