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Trends Mol Med. 2011 Feb;17(2):57-64. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2010.11.001. Epub 2010 Dec 14.

Inflammasomes and autoimmunity.

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Department of Immunology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, MS #351, Suite E7004, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105, USA.


The NOD-like receptor (NLR) family members are cytosolic sensors of microbial components and danger signals. A subset of NLRs control inflammasome assembly that results in caspase-1 activation and, in turn, IL-1β and IL-18 production. Excessive inflammasome activation can cause autoinflammatory disorders, including the hereditary periodic fevers. Autoinflammatory and autoimmune diseases form a disease spectrum of aberrant, immune-mediated inflammation against self, through innate and adaptive immunity. However, the role of inflammasomes in autoimmune disease is less clear than in autoinflammation, despite the numerous effects IL-1β and IL-18 can have on shaping adaptive immunity. We summarize the role of inflammasomes in autoimmune disorders, highlight the need for a better understanding of inflammasomes in these conditions and offer suggestions for future research directions.

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