A role for the NLRP3 inflammasome in metabolic diseases--did Warburg miss inflammation?

Nat Immunol. 2012 Mar 19;13(4):352-7. doi: 10.1038/ni.2228.


The inflammasome is a protein complex that comprises an intracellular sensor (typically a Nod-like receptor), the precursor procaspase-1 and the adaptor ASC. Inflammasome activation leads to the maturation of caspase-1 and the processing of its substrates, interleukin 1β (IL-1β) and IL-18. Although initially the inflammasome was described as a complex that affects infection and inflammation, subsequent evidence has suggested that inflammasome activation influences many metabolic disorders, including atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, gout and obesity. Another feature of inflammation in general and the inflammasome specifically is that the activation process has a profound effect on aerobic glycolysis (the 'Warburg effect'). Here we explore how the Warburg effect might be linked to inflammation and inflammasome activation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / immunology
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Glycolysis / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammasomes / immunology*
  • Inflammasomes / metabolism*
  • Metabolic Diseases / immunology*
  • Metabolic Diseases / metabolism*
  • NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Inflammasomes
  • NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein
  • NLRP3 protein, human