NLRP3 Inflammasome Activates Endothelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition via Focal Adhesion Kinase Pathway in Bleomycin-Induced Pulmonary Fibrosis

Wei Chih Chen, Wen Kuang Yu, Vincent Yi Fong Su, Han Shui Hsu, Kuang Yao Yang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis has poor clinical outcomes despite antifibrotic treatment. The nucleotide-binding domain leucine-rich repeat-containing receptor, pyrin domain-containing-3 (NLRP3) inflammasome and endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EndoMT) were shown to be involved in the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis. However, the detailed mechanism is unknown. Our study aimed to investigate the role of the NLRP3 inflammasome in the regulation of EndoMT in pulmonary fibrosis. The inhibition of the NLRP3 inflammasome via a caspase-1 inhibitor, Ac-YVAD-cmk (YVAD), was intraperitoneally administered to male C57BL/6 mice (8–12 weeks old) one hour before bleomycin intratracheal injection (1.5 U/kg). Immunohistochemical staining, Masson’s trichrome staining, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, immunofluorescence, and Western blotting were used to assess the activity of the NLRP3 inflammasome and EndoMT in lung samples from mice. Human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells (HPMECs) were used as a model of EndoMT in vitro with YVAD and bleomycin stimulation. We observed the activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome and EndoMT (decreased vascular endothelial cadherin with increased alpha-smooth muscle actin and vimentin) in the lung samples after bleomycin. However, inhibition of the NLRP3 inflammasome significantly reduces EndoMT via inhibiting focal adhesion kinase (FAK). In vitro studies also confirmed these findings. In conclusion, NLRP3 inflammasome inhibition could reduce lung inflammation and fibrosis via the regulation of EndoMT by the FAK pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15813
JournalInternational Journal Of Molecular Sciences
Volume24
Issue number21
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2023

Keywords

  • caspase-1 inhibitor
  • endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition
  • focal adhesion kinase
  • nucleotide-binding domain leucine-rich repeat-containing receptor
  • pulmonary fibrosis
  • pyrin domain-containing-3 (NLRP3) inflammasome

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