NLRP3 inflammasome mediates aldosterone-induced vascular damage

Bruder-Nascimento, Thiago and Ferreira, Nathanne S. and Zanotto, Camila Z. and Ramalho, Fernanda and Pequeno, Isabela O. and Olivon, Vania C. and Neves, Karla B. and Alves-Lopes, Rheure and Campos, Eduardo and Silva, Carlos Alberto A. and Fazan, Rubens and Carlos, Daniela and Mestriner, Fabiola L. and Prado, Douglas and Pereira, Felipe V. and Braga, Tarcio and Luiz, Joao Paulo M. and Cau, Stefany B. and Elias, Paula C. and Moreira, Ayrton C. and Câmara, Niels O. and Zamboni, Dario S. and Alves-Filho, Jose Carlos and Tostes, Rita C. (2016) NLRP3 inflammasome mediates aldosterone-induced vascular damage. Circulation, 134 (23). pp. 1866-1880. ISSN 0009-7322 (

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Background: Inflammation is a key feature of aldosterone-induced vascular damage and dysfunction, but molecular mechanisms by which aldosterone triggers inflammation remain unclear. The NLRP3 inflammasome is a pivotal immune sensor that recognizes endogenous danger signals triggering sterile inflammation. Methods: We analyzed vascular function and inflammatory profile of wild-type (WT), NLRP3 knockout (NLRP3 -/-), caspase-1 knockout (Casp-1 -/-), and interleukin-1 receptor knockout (IL-1R -/-) mice treated with vehicle or aldosterone (600 μg·kg -1 ·d -1 for 14 days through osmotic mini-pump) while receiving 1% saline to drink. Results: Here, we show that NLRP3 inflammasome plays a central role in aldosterone-induced vascular dysfunction. Long-term infusion of aldosterone in mice resulted in elevation of plasma interleukin-1β levels and vascular abnormalities. Mice lacking the IL-1R or the inflammasome components NLRP3 and caspase-1 were protected from aldosterone-induced vascular damage. In vitro, aldosterone stimulated NLRP3-dependent interleukin-1β secretion by bone marrow-derived macrophages by activating nuclear factor-κB signaling and reactive oxygen species generation. Moreover, chimeric mice reconstituted with NLRP3-deficient hematopoietic cells showed that NLRP3 in immune cells mediates aldosterone-induced vascular damage. In addition, aldosterone increased the expression of NLRP3, active caspase-1, and mature interleukin-1β in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Hypertensive patients with hyperaldosteronism or normal levels of aldosterone exhibited increased activity of NLRP3 inflammasome, suggesting that the effect of hyperaldosteronism on the inflammasome may be mediated through high blood pressure. Conclusions: Together, these data demonstrate that NLRP3 inflammasome, through activation of IL-1R, is critically involved in the deleterious vascular effects of aldosterone, placing NLRP3 as a potential target for therapeutic interventions in conditions with high aldosterone levels.