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Cytokine. 2015 Feb;71(2):223-31. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2014.11.001. Epub 2014 Nov 21.

Methylsulfonylmethane inhibits NLRP3 inflammasome activation.

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College of Veterinary Medicine, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon, Gangwon 200-701, Republic of Korea.
Korea Food Research Institute, Songnam, Kyeonggi 463-746, Republic of Korea.
Korean Basic Science Institute, Chuncheon 200-701, Republic of Korea.
College of Veterinary Medicine, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon, Gangwon 200-701, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:


Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is an organosulfur compound and the health benefits associated with MSM include inflammation. Although MSM has been shown to have various physiological effects, no study has yet focused on inflammasome activation. The inflammasome is a multiprotein complex that serves as a platform for caspase 1-dependent proteolytic maturation and secretion of interleukin-1β (IL-1β). In this study, we tested the effect of MSM on inflammasome activation using mouse and human macrophages. In our results, MSM significantly attenuated NLRP3 inflammasome activation in lipopolysaccharide-primed macrophages, although it had no effect on NLCR4 or AIM2 inflammasome activation. Extracts of MSM-enriched vegetables presented the same inhibitory effect on NLRP3 inflammasome activation as MSM. MSM also attenuated the transcriptional expression of IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-6, and NLRP3. Taken together, these results show that MSM has anti-inflammatory characteristics, interrupts NLRP3 inflammasome activation, and inhibits pro-cytokine expression. We further confirmed the intracellular mechanism of MSM in relation to NLRP3 inflammasome activation, followed by comparison with that of DMSO. Both chemicals showed a synergic effect on anti-NLRP3 activation and attenuated production of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS). Thus, MSM is a selective inhibitor of NLRP3 inflammasome activation and can be developed as a supplement to control several metabolic disorders.


DMSO; Inflammasome; Interleukin-1beta; MSM; Macrophages

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