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Activation of the nucleotide-binding domain leucine-rich repeat and pyrin domain containing receptor 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome plays an important role in ocular neovascularization. In our study, we found that the expression and activation levels of NLRP3 inflammasome components, including NLRP3, an apoptosis-associated speck-like protein (ASC) containing caspase activation and recruitment domain (CARD) and caspase-1 (CAS1), were significantly upregulated. In addition, we found interleukin (IL)-1β activity increased while IL-18 activity decreased in the retinas of oxygen-induced ischemic retinopathy (OIR) mice. MCC950, an inhibitor of NLRP3, reversed the IL-1β/IL-18 activation pattern, inhibited the formation of retinal neovascularization (RNV), decreased the number of acellular capillaries and reduced leakage of retinal vessels. Moreover, MCC950 could regulate the expression of endothelial cell- and pericyte function-associated molecules, such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), VEGF receptor (VEGFR)1, VEGFR2, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)2, MMP9, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMP)1, TIMP2, platelet-derived growth factor receptor-β (PDGFR-β), platelet-derived growth factor-B (PDGF-B), and angiopoietin2 (Ang2). In vitro, recombinant human (r)IL-18 and rIL-1β regulated the expression of endothelial cell- and pericyte function-associated molecules and the proliferation and migration of endothelial cells and pericytes. We therefore determined that inhibiting the NLRP3 inflammasome with MCC950 can regulate the function of endothelial cells and pericytes by reversing the IL-1β/IL-18 activation pattern to ameliorate RNV and leakage; thereby opening new avenues to treat RNV-associated ocular diseases.


Ailing Sui, Xiuping Chen, Jikui Shen, Anna M Demetriades, Yiyun Yao, Yixuan Yao, Yanji Zhu, Xi Shen, Bing Xie. Inhibiting the NLRP3 inflammasome with MCC950 ameliorates retinal neovascularization and leakage by reversing the IL-1β/IL-18 activation pattern in an oxygen-induced ischemic retinopathy mouse model. Cell death & disease. 2020 Oct 22;11(10):901

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PMID: 33093455

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