Am J Cardiovasc Dis 2011;1(3):244-254

Review Article
Inflammasomes in cardiovascular diseases

Nisha Jain Garg

Department of 1Microbiology and Immunology, 2Center for Tropical Diseases, and Institute for Human Infections and
Immunity, The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, USA.

Received July 31, 2011; accepted August 12, 2011; Epub September 10, 2011; published September 30, 2011

Abstract: NOD-like receptors (NLRs) constitute a recently identified family of macromolecules that participate in regulation
of innate immune responses. To date, 23 members of the NLR family are identified in humans. Diverse NLRs are
stimulated by a broad range of pathogen- or danger-associated molecular patterns, and collectively function as
intracellular pattern recognition receptors (PRRs). The most studied inflammasomes are NLRP1 and NLRP3 that process
inactive pro-caspase-1 to its active form, allowing the cleavage and subsequent activation of pro-IL-1β and pro-IL-18, and
initiation of inflammatory responses. Three models, based upon extracellular ATP/K+ flux, lysosomal release of cathepsin,
and reactive oxygen species, have been proposed to be involved in signaling activation of NLRs and downstream events.
In this review, I discuss the current state of knowledge related to the roles of NLRs and inflammasomes in the
development of cardiovascular diseases. (AJCD1107008).

Keywords: Cardiovascular diseases, inflammasomes, reactive oxygen species, Interleukin 1 beta, Nod-like receptors

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