Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is associated with enhanced levels of the IL-1 family cytokines IL-1β and IL-18, which are activated by the Nlrp3 inflammasome. Here, we investigated the role of inflammasome-driven cytokine release on T cell polarization and DC differentiation in steady state and T cell transfer colitis. In vitro and in vivo data showed that IL-1β induces Th17 polarization and increases GM‑CSF production by T cells. Reduced IL-1β levels in Nlrp3–/– mice correlated with enhanced FLT3L levels and increased frequency of tolerogenic CD103+ DC. In the T cell transfer colitis model, Nlrp3 deficiency resulted in lower IL‑1β levels, reduced Th17 immunity, and less severe colitis. Unaltered IL-18 levels in both mouse strains pointed toward Nlrp3-independent processing. Importantly, cohousing revealed that the gut microbiome had no impact on the observed Nlrp3–/– phenotype. This study demonstrates that NLRP3 acts as a molecular switch of intestinal homeostasis by shifting local immune cells toward an inflammatory phenotype via IL-1β.
Rachel Mak’Anyengo, Peter Duewell, Cornelia Reichl, Christine Hörth, Hans‑Anton Lehr, Sandra Fischer, Thomas Clavel, Gerald Denk, Simon Hohenester, Sebastian Kobold, Stefan Endres, Max Schnurr, Christian Bauer
NLRP3 deficiency favors development of tolerogenic CD103+ DC in a FLT3L-dependent manner.