The complex interplay between endoplasmic reticulum stress and the NLRP3 inflammasome: a potential therapeutic target for inflammatory disorders

Clin Transl Immunology. 2021 Feb 11;10(2):e1247. doi: 10.1002/cti2.1247. eCollection 2021.


Inflammation is the result of a complex network of cellular and molecular interactions and mechanisms that facilitate immune protection against intrinsic and extrinsic stimuli, particularly pathogens, to maintain homeostasis and promote tissue healing. However, dysregulation in the immune system elicits excess/abnormal inflammation resulting in unintended tissue damage and causes major inflammatory diseases including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, atherosclerosis, inflammatory bowel diseases, sarcoidosis and rheumatoid arthritis. It is now widely accepted that both endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and inflammasomes play critical roles in activating inflammatory signalling cascades. Notably, evidence is mounting for the involvement of ER stress in exacerbating inflammasome-induced inflammatory cascades, which may provide a new axis for therapeutic targeting in a range of inflammatory disorders. Here, we comprehensively review the roles, mechanisms and interactions of both ER stress and inflammasomes, as well as their interconnected relationships in inflammatory signalling cascades. We also discuss novel therapeutic strategies that are being developed to treat ER stress- and inflammasome-related inflammatory disorders.

Keywords: NLRP3; endoplasmic reticulum stress; inflammasome; inflammatory disorder.

Publication types

  • Review