The inflammasome is a cytoplasmic multiprotein complex that promotes proinflammatory cytokine maturation in response to host- and pathogen-derived signals. Missense mutations in cryopyrin (NLRP3) result in a hyperactive inflammasome that drives overproduction of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1β and IL-18, leading to the cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes (CAPS) disease spectrum. Mouse lines harboring CAPS-associated mutations in Nlrp3 have elevated levels of IL-1β and IL-18 and closely mimic human disease. To examine the role of inflammasome-driven IL-18 in murine CAPS, we bred Nlrp3 mutations onto an Il18r-null background. Deletion of Il18r resulted in partial phenotypic rescue that abolished skin and visceral disease in young mice and normalized serum cytokines to a greater extent than breeding to Il1r-null mice. Significant systemic inflammation developed in aging Nlrp3 mutant Il18r-null mice, indicating that IL-1 and IL-18 drive pathology at different stages of the disease process. Ongoing inflammation in double-cytokine knockout CAPS mice implicated a role for caspase-1–mediated pyroptosis and confirmed that CAPS is inflammasome dependent. Our results have important implications for patients with CAPS and residual disease, emphasizing the need to explore other NLRP3-mediated pathways and the potential for inflammasome-targeted therapy.
Susannah D. Brydges, Lori Broderick, Matthew D. McGeough, Carla A. Pena, James L. Mueller, Hal M. Hoffman
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