Innate immune activation through Nalp3 inflammasome sensing of asbestos and silica

Catherine Dostert, Virginie Pétrilli, Robin Van Bruggen, Chad Steele, Brooke T. Mossman, Jürg Tschopp*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2007 Citations (Scopus)


The inhalation of airborne pollutants, such as asbestos or silica, is linked to inflammation of the lung, fibrosis, and lung cancer. How the presence of pathogenic dust is recognized and how chronic inflammatory diseases are triggered are poorly understood. Here, we show that asbestos and silica are sensed by the Nalp3 inflammasome, whose subsequent activation leads to interleukin-1β secretion. Inflammasome activation is triggered by reactive oxygen species, which are generated by a NADPH oxidase upon particle phagocytosis. (NADPH is the reduced form of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate.) In a model of asbestos inhalation, Nalp3-/- mice showed diminished recruitment of inflammatory cells to the lungs, paralleled by lower cytokine production. Our findings implicate the Nalp3 inflammasome in particulate matter-related pulmonary diseases and support its role as a major proinflammatory "danger" receptor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)674-677
Number of pages4
Issue number5876
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2008
Externally publishedYes


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