Time-dependent dual effect of NLRP3 inflammasome in brain ischaemia

Alejandra Palomino-Antolin, Paloma Narros-Fernández, Víctor Farré-Alins, Javier Sevilla-Montero, Celine Decouty-Pérez, Ana Belen Lopez-Rodriguez, Nuria Fernández, Luis Monge, Ana I Casas, María José Calzada, Javier Egea*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Web of Science)


Background Inflammasomes are cytosolic multiprotein complexes which, upon assembly, activate the maturation and secretion of the inflammatory cytokines IL-1 beta and IL-18. However, participation of the NLRP3 inflammasome in ischaemic stroke remains controversial. Our aims were to determine the role of NLRP3 in brain ischaemia, and explore the mechanism involved in the potential protective effect of the neurovascular unit. Methods WT and NLRP3 knock-out mice were subjected to ischaemia by middle cerebral artery occlusion (60 min) with or without treatment with MCC950 at different time points post-stroke. Brain injury was measured histologically with 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) staining. Results We identified a time-dependent dual effect of NLRP3. While neither the pre-treatment with MCC950 nor the genetic approach (NLRP3 KO) proved to be neuroprotective, post-reperfusion treatment with MCC950 significantly reduced the infarct volume in a dose-dependent manner. Importantly, MCC950 improved the neuro-motor function and reduced the expression of different pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1 beta and TNF-alpha), NLRP3 inflammasome components (NLRP3 and pro-caspase-1), protease expression (MMP9), and endothelial adhesion molecules (ICAM and VCAM). We observed a marked protection of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), which was also reflected in the recovery of the tight junction proteins (ZO-1 and Claudin-5). Additionally, MCC950 produced a reduction of the CCL2 chemokine in blood serum and in brain tissue, which lead to a reduction in the immune cell infiltration. Conclusions These findings suggest that post-reperfusion NLRP3 inhibition may be an effective acute therapy for protecting the blood-brain barrier in cerebral ischaemia with potential clinical translation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1395-1410
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number7
Early online date5 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • CNS
  • NLRP3 inflammasome
  • blood brain barrier
  • immune system
  • inflammation
  • ischaemic stroke

Cite this