Inflammatory caspases: linking an intracellular innate immune system to autoinflammatory diseases

Cell. 2004 May 28;117(5):561-74. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2004.05.004.


Caspases not only play an essential role during apoptotic cell death, but a subfamily of them-the inflammatory caspases-are associated with immune responses to microbial pathogens. Activation of inflammatory caspases, such as caspase-1 and caspase-5, occurs upon assembly of an intracellular complex, designated the inflammasome. This results in the cleavage and activation of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1beta and IL-18. Mutations in one of the scaffold proteins of the inflammasome, NALP3/Cryopyrin, are associated with autoinflammatory disorders underscoring the importance of regulating inflammatory caspase activation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Autoimmunity / immunology*
  • Autoimmunity / physiology
  • Caspase Inhibitors
  • Caspases / immunology*
  • Caspases / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / enzymology
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Interleukin-1 / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary


  • Caspase Inhibitors
  • Interleukin-1
  • Caspases