CPT-11 activates NLRP3 inflammasome through JNK and NF-κB signalings

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Abstract

CPT-11 is widely used for cancer therapy as a chemotherapeutic agent. Despite its good efficacy, a large number of side effects appeared during decades of clinical application. Delayed diarrhea, at dose limiting toxicity, happens after 24 h of treatment and the rate of occurrence is up to 90%. Although many investments have been made on this negative impact, the real molecular mechanism of delayed diarrhea is poorly understood. In this study, we have discovered that CPT-11 promotes macrophage infiltration into intestinal tissues and activates the NOD-like receptor family, pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome, resulting in a robust IL-1β response and colonic inflammation similar to DSS (dextran sodium sulfate) induced experimental colitis. CPT-11 plus LPS primed mouse bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDMs) and human acute monocytic leukemia cells (THP-1 cells) staying in a highly activated status, showing increased caspase-1 activity and releasing great amounts of IL-1β and IL-18 as detected by ELISA and western blot. A further mechanism showed that JNK and NF-κB signaling pathways participated in inflammatory responses activated by CPT-11. These results prompted us to suggest that the NLRP3-IL-1β signaling pathway might play an important role in CPT11-induced colitis. Our findings provide a basis for developing novel strategies that improve clinical implications of CPT-11.

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