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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Jun 26;109(26):10480-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1201836109. Epub 2012 Jun 13.

NLRP3 inflammasome induces chemotactic immune cell migration to the CNS in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.

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Department of Immunology, and School of Nursing, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


The NLRP3 inflammasome is a multiprotein complex consisting of three kinds of proteins, NLRP3, ASC, and pro-caspase-1, and plays a role in sensing pathogens and danger signals in the innate immune system. The NLRP3 inflammasome is thought to be involved in the development of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of multiple sclerosis (MS). However, the mechanism by which the NLRP3 inflammasome induces EAE is not clear. In this study, we found that the NLRP3 inflammasome played a critical role in inducing T-helper cell migration into the CNS. To gain migratory ability, CD4(+) T cells need to be primed by NLRP3 inflammasome-sufficient antigen-presenting cells to up-regulate chemotaxis-related proteins, such as osteopontin, CCR2, and CXCR6. In the presence of the NLRP3 inflammasome, dendritic cells and macrophages also induce chemotactic ability and up-regulate chemotaxis-related proteins, such as α4β1 integrin, CCL7, CCL8, and CXCL16. On the other hand, reduced Th17 cell population size in immunized Nlrp3(-/-) and Asc(-/-) mice is not a determinative factor for their resistance to EAE. As currently applied in clinical interventions of MS, targeting immune cell migration molecules may be an effective approach in treating MS accompanied by NLRP3 inflammasome activation.

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