The Expression Changes of Inflammasomes in the Aging Rat Kidneys

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The mechanisms of kidney aging are not yet clear. Studies have shown that immunological inflammation is related to kidney aging. Inflammasomes are important components of innate immune system in the body. However, the function of inflammasomes and their underlying mechanisms in renal aging remain unclear. In this study, for the first time, we systematically investigated the role of the inflammasomes and the inflammatory responses activated by inflammasomes during kidney aging. We found that during kidney aging, the expression levels of the molecules associated with the activation of inflammasomes, including toll-like receptor-4 and interleukin-1 receptor (IL-1R), were significantly increased; their downstream signaling pathway molecule interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase-4 (IRAK4) was markedly activated (Phospho-IRAK4 was obviously increased); the nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) signaling pathway was activated (the activated NF-κB pathway molecules Phospho-IKKβ, Phospho-IκBα, and Phospho-NF-κBp65 were significantly elevated); the levels of the inflammasome components NOD-like receptor P3 (NLRP3), NLRC4, and pro-caspase-1 were prominently upregulated; and the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1β and IL-18 were notably increased in the kidneys of 24-month-old (elderly group) rats. These results showed that inflammasomes are markedly activated during the renal aging process and might induce inflamm-aging by promoting the maturation and secretion of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1β and IL-18.

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