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Yi Liao, Houjian Zhang, Danxue He, Yan Wang, Binxiang Cai, Jingmeng Chen, Jianxing Ma, Zuguo Liu, Yalin Wu; Retinal Pigment Epithelium Cell Death Is Associated With NLRP3 Inflammasome Activation by All-trans Retinal. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(8):3034-3045. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.18-26360.
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Visual (retinoid) cycle anomalies induce aberrant build-up of all-trans retinal (atRAL) in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), which is a cause of RPE atrophy in Stargardt disease type 1 and age-related macular degeneration. NLR family pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome activation is implicated in the etiology of age-related macular degeneration. Here, we elucidated the relationship between NLRP3 inflammasome activation and atRAL-induced death of RPE cells.
Cellular toxicities were assessed by MTS or MTT assays. Expression levels of mRNAs and proteins were determined by quantitative reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction, Western blotting, or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Fluorescence microscopy was used to examine intracellular signals. Ultrastructural features of organelles were examined by transmission electron microscope.
Abnormal accumulation of atRAL was associated with a significant increase in the proportion of human ARPE-19 cells exhibiting features of apoptosis and Caspase-3/gasdermin E (GSDME)-mediated pyroptosis. These cells also exhibited elevated expression of NLRP3, ASC, cleaved Caspase-1/poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP)/Caspase-3/GSDME, interleukin-1β (IL-1β), and IL-18, as well as NLRP3 inflammasome-related genes (IL1B and IL18). After exposure of human ARPE-19 cells to excess atRAL, reactive oxygen species (ROS) (including mitochondrial ROS) and cathepsins released from lysosomes transmitted signals leading to NLRP3 inflammasome activation. Suppressing the production of ROS, NLRP3 inflammasome, Caspase-1, cathepsin B, or cathepsin D protected ARPE-19 cells against atRAL-associated cytotoxicity. Damage to mitochondria, lysosomes, and endoplasmic reticulum in atRAL-exposed ARPE-19 cells was partially alleviated by treatment with MCC950, a selective NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitor.
Aberrant build-up of atRAL promotes the death of RPE cells via NLRP3 inflammasome activation.
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