Inflammasomes in the Pathophysiology of Aortic Disease

Cells. 2021 Sep 15;10(9):2433. doi: 10.3390/cells10092433.


Aortic diseases comprise aneurysms, dissections, and several other pathologies. In general, aging is associated with a slow but progressive dilation of the aorta, along with increased stiffness and pulse pressure. The progression of aortic disease is characterized by subclinical development or acute presentation. Recent evidence suggests that inflammation participates causally in different clinical manifestations of aortic diseases. As of yet, diagnostic imaging and surveillance is mainly based on ultrasonography, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Little medical therapy is available so far to prevent or treat the majority of aortic diseases. Endovascular therapy by the introduction of covered stentgrafts provides the main treatment option, although open surgery and implantation of synthetic grafts remain necessary in many situations. Because of the risks associated with surgery, there is a need for identification of pharmaceutical targets interfering with the pathophysiology of aortic remodeling. The participation of innate immunity and inflammasome activation in different cell types is common in aortic diseases. This review will thus focus on inflammasome activities in vascular cells of different chronic and acute aortic diseases and discuss their role in development and progression. We will also identify research gaps and suggest promising therapeutic targets, which may be used for future medical interventions.

Keywords: AIM2; IMH; NLRP3; PAU; aneurysm; aorta; aortitis; dissection; inflammasome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aorta* / cytology
  • Aorta* / pathology
  • Aorta* / physiology
  • Aortic Aneurysm / metabolism
  • Aortic Aneurysm / physiopathology
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Thoracic / metabolism
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Thoracic / physiopathology
  • Aortic Diseases* / metabolism
  • Aortic Diseases* / physiopathology
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Inflammasomes / metabolism*
  • Inflammasomes / physiology
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Interleukin-1beta / metabolism
  • Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / metabolism
  • Myofibroblasts / metabolism
  • NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein / metabolism


  • AIM2 protein, human
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Inflammasomes
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein