NLRP3 inflammasome pathways in atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis. 2017 Dec;267:127-138. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2017.10.027. Epub 2017 Oct 22.


Atherosclerosis is the major cause of death and disability. Atherosclerotic plaques are characterized by a chronic sterile inflammation in the large blood vessels, where lipid-derived and damage-associated molecular patterns play important roles in inciting immune responses. Following the initial demonstration that NLR family Pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3) was important for atherogenesis, a substantial number of studies have emerged addressing the basic mechanisms of inflammasome activation and their relevance to atherosclerosis. In this review, we introduce the basic cellular and molecular mechanisms of NLRP3 inflammasome activation, and discuss the current findings and therapeutic strategies that target NLRP3 inflammasome activation during the development and progression of atherosclerosis.

Keywords: ASC; Atherosclerosis; Caspase-1; IL-1β; NLRP3 inflammasome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / metabolism
  • Atherosclerosis / metabolism*
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Caspases / metabolism
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Inflammasomes / metabolism*
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Interleukin-1beta / metabolism
  • Lipids / chemistry
  • Mice
  • NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein / metabolism*
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic / metabolism


  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Inflammasomes
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • Lipids
  • NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein
  • NLRP3 protein, human
  • Nlrp3 protein, mouse
  • Caspases