Inflammasome activation in podocytes: a new mechanism of glomerular diseases



Inflammasome is a multi-protein complex which is an important constituent of innate immunity. It mainly consists of three parts, apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing caspase recruitment domain (ASC), caspase protease, and a NOD-like receptor (NLR) family protein (such as NLRP1) or an HIN200 family protein (such as AIM2). Inflammasome is widely studied in many autoimmune diseases and chronic inflammatory reactions, such as familial periodic autoinflammatory response, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, and atherosclerosis. Activation of inflammasome in the kidney has been widely reported in glomerular and tubular-interstitial diseases. Podocytes play a critical role in maintaining the normal structure and function of glomerular filtration barrier. Recently, it has been demonstrated that podocytes, as a group of renal residential cells, can express all necessary components of NLRP3 inflammasome, which is activated and contribute to inflammatory response in the local kidney.


Literature review was conducted to further summarize current evidence of podocyte NLRP3 inflammasome activation and related molecular mechanisms under different disease conditions.


Podocytes are a key component of the glomerular filtration barrier, and the loss of podocyte regeneration is a major limiting factor in the recovery of proteinuria. Through a more comprehensive study of inflammasome in podocytes, it will provide new targets and possibilities for the treatment of kidney diseases.

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This work was supported by Grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81974162, 81974096, 81961138007, 81770711, 81671066), program for HUST Academic Frontier Youth Team (2017QYTD20), and National Key R&D Program of China (2020YFC0845800 and 2018YFC1314000).

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Xiong, W., Meng, X. & Zhang, C. Inflammasome activation in podocytes: a new mechanism of glomerular diseases. Inflamm. Res. 69, 731–743 (2020).

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  • Inflammasome
  • Podocytes
  • Glomerular diseases
  • NLRP3