Microparticulate Caspase-1 Regulates Gasdermin-D and Pulmonary Vascular Endothelial Cell Injury.

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Lung endothelial cell apoptosis and injury occurs throughout all stages of acute lung injury (ALI/ARDS) and impacts disease progression. Caspases 1, 4 and 5 are essential for completion of the apoptotic program known as pyroptosis that also involves pro-inflammatory cytokines.


Because GSDM-D mediates pyroptotic death and is essential for pore formation, we hypothesized that it may direct caspase-1 encapsulated microparticle (MP) release and mediate endothelial cell death.


Our current work provides evidence that GSDM-D is released by LPS stimulated THP1 monocytic cells where it is packaged into microparticles along with active caspase-1. Furthermore, only MP released from stimulated monocytic cells that contain both cleaved GSDM-D and active caspase-1 induce endothelial cell apoptosis. MPs pretreated with caspase-1 inhibitor, YVAD, or pan-caspase inhibitor, ZVAD, do not contain cleaved GSDM-D. MPs from caspase-1KO cells are also deficient in p30 active GSDM-D, further confirming that caspase-1 regulates GSDM-D function. Although control MPs contained cleaved GSDM-D without caspase-1, these fractions were unable to induce cell death, suggesting that encapsulation of both caspase-1 and GSDM-D is essential for cell death induction. Release of microparticulate active caspase-1 was abrogated in GSDM-KO cells, although cytosolic caspase-1 activation was not impaired. Lastly, higher levels of microparticulate GSDM-D was detected in septic ARDS patient plasma when compared to healthy donors.


Taken together, these findings suggest that GSDM-D regulates the release of microparticulate active caspase-1 from monocytes essential for induction of cell death and thereby may play a critical role in sepsis-induced endothelial cell injury.

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