Implications of Inflammasomes in Human Diseases: NLRP3 Inflammasome and Animal Models

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Danger-associated molecular patterns, such as nuclear or cytosolic proteins released outside the cell or exposed on the cell surface after tissue injury, and pathogen-associated molecular patterns, such as lipopolysaccharide, peptidoglycan, and nucleic acid, stimulate the formation of a large protein complex called the inflammasome. The inflammasome is a cytosolic complex of 3 proteins that cleaves and releases interleukin-1β. Recent studies have characterized a multitude of inflammasome ligands of both endogenous and exogenous origins. Moreover, using various animal models, the implications of inflammasomes in human diseases have been elucidated for multifaceted diseases such as metabolic syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, Alzheimer disease, and certain inflammatory skin diseases. This article reviews several of these conditions and discusses the different models proposed for inflammasome involvement, including animal models of the cornea.

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