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    As a widely acknowledged FDA-approved dietary supplement or over-the-counter medicines, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) exerts anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory function. Pyroptosis is an important form of programmed cell death (PCD), and which acts a key role in the body's anti-infection and inflammatory responses. But the effects and mechanisms of DHEA on pyroptosis remain unclear. Here, we found that DHEA inhibited the NLRP3 inflammasome components expression by blocking inflammatory signals in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-primed macrophages, and prevented the bacterial toxin nigericin (Nig)-induced NLRP3 inflammasome assembly. However, DHEA exacerbated NLRP3-independent cell death in Nig-treated inflammatory macrophages. During this process, DHEA induced the abnormal autophagy, which reflected as the blocking of autophagic flux and the accumulation of autophagy receptor p62 (SQSTM1) protein. In addition, DHEA caused a burst of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and activated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) phosphorylation in LPS plus Nig-stimulated macrophages but not in LPS-treated macrophages. Mechanistically, the present study certified that the activation of G protein-coupled estrogen receptor (GPER) signal mediated the cell death induced by DHEA in Nig-stimulated inflammatory macrophages, as GPER specific inhibitor G15 alleviated the abnormal autophagy and ultimately prevented the gasdermin D (GSDMD)-mediated pyroptosis induced by DHEA. Collectively, DHEA can exacerbate Nig-induced abnormal autophagy and pyroptosis via activation of GPER in LPS-primed macrophages, which prompts us the potential application value of DHEA in anti-infection or anti-tumor immunity. © 2022. The Author(s).


    Ji Cao, Longlong Li, Yao Yao, Yuxiao Xing, Haitian Ma. Dehydroepiandrosterone exacerbates nigericin-induced abnormal autophagy and pyroptosis via GPER activation in LPS-primed macrophages. Cell death & disease. 2022 Apr 19;13(4):372

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    PMID: 35440074

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