Thioredoxin interacting protein regulates age-associated neuroinflammation

Neurobiol Dis. 2021 Aug;156:105399. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2021.105399. Epub 2021 May 21.


Immune system hypersensitivity is believed to contribute to mental frailty in the elderly. Solid evidence indicates NOD-like receptor pyrin domain containing-3 (NLRP3)-inflammasome activation intimately connects aging-associated chronic inflammation (inflammaging) to senile cognitive decline. Thioredoxin interacting protein (TXNIP), an inducible protein involved in oxidative stress, is essential for NLRP3 inflammasome activity. This study aims to find whether TXNIP/NLRP3 inflammasome pathway is involved in senile dementia. According to our studies on sex-matched mice, TXNIP was significantly upregulated in aged animals, paralleled by the NLRP3-inflammasome over-activity leading to enhanced caspase-1 cleavage and IL-1β maturation, in both sexes. This was closely associated with depletion of the anti-aging and cognition enhancing protein klotho, in aged males. Txnip knockout reversed age-related NLRP3-hyperactivity and enhanced thioredoxin (TRX) levels. Further, TXNIP inhibition along with verapamil replicated TXNIP/NLRP3-inflammasome downregulation in aged animals, with FOXO-1 and mTOR upregulation. These alterations concurred with substantial improvements in both cognitive and sensorimotor abilities. Together, these findings substantiate the pivotal role of TXNIP to drive inflammaging in parallel with klotho depletion and functional decline, and delineate thioredoxin system as a potential target to decelerate senile dementia.

Keywords: Brain aging; Functional decline; NLRP3-inflmmasome; Oxidative stress; TXNIP.

Publication types

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