Soluble Uric Acid Activates the NLRP3 Inflammasome
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionScientific Reports. 2017, 7:39884, 1-14. 10.1038/srep39884
Uric acid is a damage-associated molecular pattern (DAMP), released from ischemic tissues and dying cells which, when crystalized, is able to activate the NLRP3 inflammasome. Soluble uric acid (sUA) is found in high concentrations in the serum of great apes, and even higher in some diseases, before the appearance of crystals. In the present study, we sought to investigate whether uric acid, in the soluble form, could also activate the NLRP3 inflammasome and induce the production of IL-1β. We monitored ROS, mitochondrial area and respiratory parameters from macrophages following sUA stimulus. We observed that sUA is released in a hypoxic environment and is able to induce IL-1β release. This process is followed by production of mitochondrial ROS, ASC speck formation and caspase-1 activation. Nlrp3−/− macrophages presented a protected redox state, increased maximum and reserve oxygen consumption ratio (OCR) and higher VDAC protein levels when compared to WT and Myd88−/− cells. Using a disease model characterized by increased sUA levels, we observed a correlation between sUA, inflammasome activation and fibrosis. These findings suggest sUA activates the NLRP3 inflammasome. We propose that future therapeutic strategies for renal fibrosis should include strategies that block sUA or inhibit its recognition by phagocytes.