Pharmacological and epigenetic regulators of nlrp3 inflammasome activation in alzheimer’s disease

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Activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome complex results in the production of IL-18, Caspase-1 and IL-1β. These cytokines have a beneficial role in promoting inflammation, but an excessive activation of the inflammasome and the consequent constitutive inflammatory status is a negative factor in human pathologies including Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). MicroRNAs (miR-NAs) target the 3′ UTR region of NLRP3, preventing the activation of the inflammasome and inhibiting cytokine production. Because Stavudine (D4T), an antiretroviral drug, was recently shown to reduce inflamma-some activation, we verified whether its effect is mediated by miR-7-5p, miR-22-3p, miR-30e-5p and miR-223-3p: miRNAs that bind the NLRP3-mRNA-UTR region and interfere with protein translation, reducing NLRP3 activation. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of twenty AD patients and ten sex-matched Healthy Controls (HC) were stimulated with Lipopolysaccharides (LPS)+Amyloid-beta (Aβ42) in the absence/presence of D4T. Expression of genes within the inflammasome complex and of miRNAs was evaluated by RT-PCR; cytokines and caspase-1 production was measured by ELISA. Results have shown that: NLRP3, ASC, IL-1β and IL-18 expression, as well as IL-18, IL-1β and caspase-1 production, were significantly augmented (p < 0.05) in LPS+Aβ42-stimulated PBMCs of AD patients compared to HC. D4T reduced the expression of inflammasome genes and cytokine production (p < 0.005). miR-7-5p and miR-223-3p expression was significantly increased in LPS+Aβ42-stimulated PBMCs of AD patients (p < 0.05), and it was reduced by D4T in AD alone. In conclusion: miR-223-3p and mir-7-5p expression is increased in AD, but this does not result in down-regulation of NLRP3 inflammasome expression and of IL-1β and IL-18 production. D4T increased miRNA expression in HC but had an opposite effect in AD, suggesting that miRNA regulatory mechanisms are altered in AD.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • D4T
  • MiRNAs
  • NLRP3 inflammasome


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