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Immunology. 2013 Apr;138(4):392-401. doi: 10.1111/imm.12052.

Ragweed pollen extract intensifies lipopolysaccharide-induced priming of NLRP3 inflammasome in human macrophages.

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Department of Immunology, Medical and Health Science Centre, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary.


Ragweed pollen extract (RWE) possesses intrinsic NADPH oxidase activity that induces oxidative stress by initiating the production of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS). The ROS are important contributors to the manifestation of allergic inflammation; furthermore, concomitant exposure to an allergen and an endotoxin trigger a stronger inflammatory response. One of the main pro-inflammatory cytokines produced in inflammatory responses is interleukin-1β (IL-1β), and its production is associated with caspase-1-containing inflammasome complexes. Intracellular ROS have been implicated in NLRP3 inflammasome-mediated IL-1β production, therefore, we aimed to study whether RWE influences the function of NLRP3 inflammasome. Here we describe that, in the presence of NADPH, RWE significantly elevates lipopolysaccharide-induced IL-1β production of THP-1 cells as well as human primary macrophages and dendritic cells. We also demonstrate that increased IL-1β production is mediated through NLRP3 inflammasome in THP-1 macrophages. We provide evidence that RWE elevates cytosolic ROS level in these cells, and ROS inhibitors abolish IL-1β production. Furthermore, we show that RWE enhances lipopolysaccharide-induced gene transcription/expression of pro-IL-1β and key components of the inflammasome via a ROS-dependent mechanism.

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