Activation of NLRP3 inflammasome in stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Sci Rep. 2022 May 9;12(1):7544. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-11164-1.


Nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptor family pyrin domain-containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome activation plays an important role in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) pathogenesis and might be involved in ongoing chronic inflammation. This study aimed to determine interleukin-1beta (IL-1β) plasma concentration as well as IL1B, NLRP3 and caspase-1 (CASP1) gene expression in the Croatian COPD patients. 109 patients with stable COPD and age- and sex-matched 95 controls were included in the study. Plasma IL-1β concentration was measured by Luminex technology, and gene expression analysis was performed using TaqMan assays. It was shown that COPD patients had increased concentration of IL-1β and enhanced gene expression of IL1B, NLRP3 and CASP1 compared to controls. There was no difference in IL-1β or IL1B, NLRP3 and CASP1 in patients with COPD regarding airflow obstruction severity and smoking history. Finally, the diagnostic potential of the determined parameters was evaluated, and it was found that IL-1β correctly classified 89% of cases in the combination with common inflammatory biomarkers, white blood cell count and fibrinogen, showing a potential in COPD prediction. In conclusion, up-regulation of IL1B, NLRP3, CASP1 and increased IL-1β concentration suggest the activation of NLRP3 inflammasome in the systemic compartment of patients with stable COPD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Caspase 1
  • Humans
  • Inflammasomes* / metabolism
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Interleukin-1beta / metabolism
  • NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein / genetics
  • NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein / metabolism
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive* / pathology


  • Inflammasomes
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein
  • Caspase 1