Redox Regulation of Microglial Inflammatory Response: Fine Control of NLRP3 Inflammasome through Nrf2 and NOX4
The role of inflammation and immunity in the pathomechanism of neurodegenerative diseases has become increasingly relevant within the past few years. In this context, the NOD-like receptor protein 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome plays a crucial role in the activation of inflammatory responses by promoting the maturation and secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-1β and interleukin-18. We hypothesized that the interplay between nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) and NADPH oxidase 4 (NOX4) may play a critical role in the activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome and subsequent inflammatory responses. After priming mixed glial cultures with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), cells were stimulated with ATP, showing a significant reduction of IL1-β release in NOX4 and Nrf2 KO mice. Importantly, NOX4 inhibition using GKT136901 also reduced IL-1β release, as in NOX4 KO mixed glial cultures. Moreover, we measured NOX4 and NLRP3 expression in wild-type mixed glial cultures following LPS treatment, observing that both increased after TLR4 activation, while 24 h treatment with tert-butylhydroquinone, a potent Nrf2 inducer, significantly reduced NLRP3 expression. LPS administration resulted in significant cognitive impairment compared to the control group. Indeed, LPS also modified the expression of NLRP3 and NOX4 in mouse hippocampus. However, mice treated with GKT136901 after LPS impairment showed a significantly improved discrimination index and recovered the expression of inflammatory genes to normal levels compared with wild-type animals. Hence, we here validate NOX4 as a key player in NLRP3 inflammasome activation, suggesting NOX4 pharmacological inhibition as a potent therapeutic approach in neurodegenerative diseases.