During the past 10 years, much attention has been focused towards elucidating the impact of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) in central nervous system (CNS) innate immunity. TLR signaling triggers the transcriptional activation of pro-interleukin-1β (pro-IL-1β) and pro-IL-18 that are processed into their active forms by the inflammasome. Recent studies have demonstrated inflammasome involvement during CNS infection, autoimmune disease, and injury. This review will address inflammasome actions within the CNS and how cooperation between TLR and inflammasome signaling may influence disease outcome. In addition, the concept of alternative inflammasome functions independent of IL-1 and IL-18 processing are considered in the context of CNS disease.
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