Inflammasome Activation in Ankylosing Spondylitis is Associated with Gut Dysbiosis

Jan 16, 2021 | Research | 0 comments

Giuliana Guggino, Daniele Mauro, Aroldo Rizzo, Riccardo Alessandro, Stefania Raimondo, Anne-Sophie Bergot, M. Arifur Rahman, Jonathan J. Ellis, Simon Milling, Rik Lories, Dirk Elewaut, Matthew A. Brown, Ranjeny Thomas, Francesco Ciccia

Published: 16th January 2021


“We undertook this study to evaluate the activation and functional relevance of inflammasome pathways in ankylosing spondylitis (AS) patients and rodent models and their relationship to dysbiosis.”


“An inflammasome pathway was evaluated in the gut and peripheral blood from 40 AS patients using quantitative reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), immunohistochemistry (IHC), flow cytometry, and confocal microscopy, and was compared to that of 20 healthy controls and 10 patients with Crohn’s disease.

Bacteria was visualized using silver stain in human samples, and antibiotics were administered to HLA–B27–transgenic rats. The NLRP3 inhibitor MCC950 was administered to SKG mice, and ileal and joint tissues were assessed by IHC analysis and real-time qRT-PCR. The role of inflammasome in modulating the interleukin-23 (IL-23)/IL-17 axis was studied ex vivo.”


“Expression levels of Nlrp3, Nlrc4, and Aim2 were increased in the gut of HLA–B27–transgenic rats and reduced by antibiotic treatment (P < 0.05). In curdlan-treated SKG mice, NLRP3 blockade prevented ileitis and delayed arthritis onset (P < 0.05).

Compared to healthy controls, AS patients demonstrated overexpression of NLRP3 (fold induction 2.33 versus 22.2; P < 0.001), NLRC4 (fold induction 1.90 versus 6.47; P < 0.001), AIM2 (fold induction 2.40 versus 20.8; P < 0.001), CASP1 (fold induction 2.53 versus 24.8; P < 0.001), IL1B (fold induction 1.07 versus 10.93; P < 0.001), and IL18 (fold induction 2.56 versus 15.67; P < 0.001) in the ileum, and caspase 1 activity was increased (P < 0.01).

The score of adherent and invasive mucosa-associated bacteria was higher in AS (P < 0.01) and correlated with the expression of inflammasome components in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (P < 0.001). NLRP3 expression was associated with disease activity (the Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Score using the C-reactive protein level) (r2 = 0.28, P < 0.01) and with IL23A expression (r2 = 0.34, P < 0.001).

In vitro, inflammasome activation in AS monocytes was paralleled by increased serum levels of IL-1β and IL-18. Induction of IL23A, IL17A, and IL22 was IL-1β–dependent.”


“Inflammasome activation occurs in rodent models of AS and in AS patients, is associated with dysbiosis, and is involved in triggering ileitis in SKG mice. Inflammasomes drive type III cytokine production with an IL-1β–dependent mechanism in AS patients.”

You can see more details about this study here

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