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J Immunol. 2013 Feb 15;190(4):1407-15. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1201195. Epub 2013 Jan 11.

Self double-stranded (ds)DNA induces IL-1β production from human monocytes by activating NLRP3 inflammasome in the presence of anti-dsDNA antibodies.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


The pathogenic hallmark of systemic lupus erythematosus is the autoimmune response against self nuclear Ags, including dsDNA. The increased expression of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-1β has been found in the cutaneous lesion and PBMCs from lupus patients, suggesting a potential involvement of this cytokine in the pathogenesis of lupus. IL-1β is produced primarily by innate immune cells such as monocytes and can promote a Th17 cell response, which is increased in lupus. IL-1β production requires cleaving pro-IL-β into IL-1β by the caspase-1-associated multiprotein complex called inflammasomes. In this study we show that self dsDNA induces IL-1β production from human monocytes dependent on serum or purified IgG containing anti-dsDNA Abs by activating the nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptor family pyrin domain-containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) and K(+) efflux were involved in this activation. Knocking down the NLRP3 or inhibiting caspase-1, ROS, and K(+) efflux decreased IL-1β production. Supernatants from monocytes treated with a combination of self dsDNA and anti-dsDNA Ab(+) serum promoted IL-17 production from CD4(+) T cells in an IL-1β-dependent manner. These findings provide new insights in lupus pathogenesis by demonstrating that self dsDNA together with its autoantibodies induces IL-1β production from human monocytes by activating the NLRP3 inflammasome through inducing ROS synthesis and K(+) efflux, leading to the increased Th17 cell response.

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