The NOD-like receptor (NLR) family members are cytosolic sensors of microbial components and danger signals. A subset of NLRs control inflammasome assembly that results in caspase-1 activation and, in turn, IL-1β and IL-18 production. Excessive inflammasome activation can cause autoinflammatory disorders, including the hereditary periodic fevers. Autoinflammatory and autoimmune diseases form a disease spectrum of aberrant, immune-mediated inflammation against self, through innate and adaptive immunity. However, the role of inflammasomes in autoimmune disease is less clear than in autoinflammation, despite the numerous effects IL-1β and IL-18 can have on shaping adaptive immunity. We summarize the role of inflammasomes in autoimmune disorders, highlight the need for a better understanding of inflammasomes in these conditions and offer suggestions for future research directions.
Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.