Research Papers:

Inhibition of NLRP3 inflammasome by thioredoxin-interacting protein in mouse Kupffer cells as a regulatory mechanism for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease development

Kun He, Xiwen Zhu, Yan Liu, Chunmu Miao, Tao Wang, Peizhi Li, Lei Zhao, Yaxi Chen, Junhua Gong, Can Cai, Jinzheng Li, Shengwei Li, Xiong Z. Ruan and Jianping Gong _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:37657-37672. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.17489

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Kun He1, Xiwen Zhu1, Yan Liu4, Chunmu Miao1, Tao Wang1, Peizhi Li1, Lei Zhao2, Yaxi Chen2, Junhua Gong1, Can Cai4, Jinzheng Li1, Shengwei Li1, Xiong Z. Ruan2,3, Jianping Gong1

1Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, China

2Centre for Lipid Research, Key Laboratory of Molecular Biology on Infectious Diseases, Ministry of Education, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, China

3Centre for Nephrology, University College London (UCL) Medical School, Royal Free Campus, London, United Kingdom

4Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, China

Correspondence to:

Jianping Gong, email: [email protected]

Shengwei Li, email: [email protected]

Keywords: NLRP3 inflammasome, Kupffer cell, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, IL-1β

Received: March 20, 2017     Accepted: April 17, 2017     Published: April 27, 2017


NOD-like receptor (NLR) NLRP3 inflammasome activation has been implicated in the progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) from non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). It has been also shown that palmitic acid (PA) activates NLRP3 inflammasome and promotes interleukin-1β (IL-1β) secretion in Kupffer cells (KCs). However, the specific mechanism of the NLRP3 inflammasome activation is unclear. We studies the molecular mechanisms by investigating the roles of Thioredoxin-interacting protein (TXNIP) and NLRP3 on NAFLD development in patients, high-fat diet (HFD)-induced NAFL and methionine choline deficient (MCD) diet-induced NASH in wild type (WT), TXNIP−/− (thioredoxin-interacting protein) and NLRP3−/− mice, and isolated KCs. We found that the expressions of NLRP3 and TXNIP in human liver tissues were higher in NASH group than in NAFL group. Furthermore, co-immunoprecipitation analyses show that activation of the TXNIP-NLRP3 inflammasome protein complex occurred in KCs of NASH WT mice rather than NAFL WT mice, thus suggesting that the formation and activation of this protein complex is mainly involved in the development of NASH. NLRP3−/− mice exhibited less severe NASH than WT mice in MCD diet model, whereas TXNIP deficiency enhanced NLRP3 inflammasome activation and exacerbated liver injury. PA triggered the activation and co-localization of the NLRP3 inflammasome protein complex in KCs isolated from WT and TXNIP−/− but not NLRP3−/− mice, and most of the complex co-localized with mitochondria of KCs following PA stimulation. Taken together, our novel findings indicate that TXNIP plays a protective and anti-inflammatory role in the development of NAFLD through binding and suppressing NLRP3.

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