Nod-like receptor protein 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome is a crucial factor in mediating inflammatory responses after cerebral ischemia/reperfusion (I/R), but the cellular location of NLRP3 inflammasome in cerebral I/R has yet come to a conclusion, and there is still no specific evidence to state the relationship between mitochondria and the NLRP3 inflammasome in cerebral I/R.
In the present study, we detected the cellular localization of NLRP3 inflammasomes in a transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAO) rat model and a transwell co-culture cell system under oxygen-glucose deprivation/reoxygenation (OGD/R) conditions. Then, we investigated the relationship between mitochondrial dysfunction and the activation of NLRP3 inflammasomes in different cell types after OGD/R and cerebral I/R injury.
Our results showed that NLRP3 inflammasomes were first activated in microglia soon after cerebral I/R injury onset and then were expressed in neurons and microvascular endothelial cells later, but they were mainly in neurons. Furthermore, mitochondrial dysfunction played an important role in activating NLRP3 inflammasomes in microglia after OGD/R, and mitochondrial protector could inhibit the activation of NLRP3 inflammasomes in cerebral I/R rats.
Our findings may provide novel insights into the cell type-dependent activation of NLRP3 inflammasomes at different stages of cerebral I/R injury and the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in activating the NLRP3 inflammasome pathway.