Ketone bodies , β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) and acetoacetate support mammalian survival during states of energy deficit by serving as alternative source of ATP1. BHB levels are elevated during starvation, high-intensity exercise or by the low carbohydrate ketogenic diet2. Prolonged caloric restriction or fasting reduces inflammation as immune system adapts to low glucose supply and energy metabolism switches towards mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation, ketogenesis and ketolysis2-6. However, role of ketones bodies in regulation of innate immune response is unknown. We report that BHB, but neither acetoacetate nor structurally-related short chain fatty acids, butyrate and acetate, suppresses activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome in response to several structurally unrelated NLRP3 activators, without impacting NLRC4, AIM2 or non-canonical caspase-11 inflammasome activation. Mechanistically, BHB inhibits NLRP3 inflammasome by preventing K+ efflux and reducing ASC oligomerization and speck formation. The inhibitory effects of BHB on NLRP3 were not dependent on chirality or classical starvation regulated mechanisms like AMPK, reactive oxygen species (ROS), autophagy or glycolytic inhibition. BHB blocked NLRP3 inflammasome without undergoing oxidation in TCA cycle, independently of uncoupling protein-2 (UCP2), Sirt2, receptor Gpr109a and inhibition of NLRP3 did not correlate with magnitude of histone acetylation in macrophages. BHB reduced the NLRP3 inflammasome mediated IL-1β and IL-18 production in human monocytes. In vivo, BHB attenuates caspase-1 activation and IL-1β secretion in mouse models of NLRP3-mediated diseases like Muckle-Wells Syndrome (MWS), Familial Cold Autoinflammatory syndrome (FCAS) and urate crystal induce body cavity inflammation. Taken together, these findings suggest that the anti-inflammatory effects of caloric restriction or ketogenic diets may be mechanistically linked to BHB-mediated inhibition of the NLRP3 inflammasome, and point to the potential use of interventions that elevate circulating BHB against NLRP3-mediated proinflammatory diseases.
Catecholamine-induced lipolysis, the first step in generation of energy substrates through hydrolysis of triglycerides (TGs) 1, declines with age 2,3. The defect in mobilization of free fatty acids (FFA) in elderly is accompanied with increased visceral adiposity, lower exercise capacity, failure to maintain core body temperature during cold stress, and reduced ability to survive starvation. While catecholamine signaling in adipocytes is normal in elderly, how lipolysis is impaired in aging remains unknown 2,4. Here we uncover that the adipose tissue macrophages (ATMs) regulate age-related reduction in adipocyte lipolysis by lowering the bioavailability of norepinephrine (NE). Unexpectedly, unbiased whole transcriptome analyses of adipose macrophages revealed that aging upregulates genes controlling catecholamine degradation in an NLRP3 inflammasome-dependent manner. Deletion of NLRP3 in aging restored catecholamine-induced lipolysis through downregulation of growth differentiation factor-3 (GDF3) and monoamine oxidase-a (MAOA) that is known to degrade NE. Consistent with this, deletion of GDF3 in inflammasome-activated macrophages improved lipolysis by decreasing MAOA and caspase-1. Furthermore, inhibition of MAOA reversed age-related reduction in adipose tissue NE concentration and restored lipolysis with increased levels of key lipolytic enzymes, adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) and hormone sensitive lipase (HSL). Our study reveals that targeting neuro-innate signaling between sympathetic nervous system and macrophages may offer new approaches to mitigate chronic inflammation-induced metabolic impairment and functional decline.
Aging and lipotoxicity are two major risk factors for gout that are linked by the activation of NLRP3 inflammasome. Neutrophil-mediated production of IL-1β drives gouty flares that cause joint destruction, intense pain, and fever. However, metabolites that impact neutrophil inflammasome remain unknown. Here we identified that ketogenic diet (KD) increases beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) and alleviates urate crystal induced gout without impairing immune-defense against bacterial infection. BHB inhibited Nlrp3 inflammasome in S100A9 fibril-primed and urate crystal activated macrophages which serve to recruit inflammatory neutrophils in joints. Consistent with reduced gouty flares in rats fed a ketogenic diet, BHB blocked IL-1β in neutrophils in Nlrp3-dependent manner in mice and humans irrespective of age Mechanistically, BHB inhibited the Nlrp3 inflammasome in neutrophils by reducing priming and assembly steps. Collectively, our studies show that BHB, a known alternate metabolic fuel is also an anti-inflammatory molecule that may serve as a treatment for gout.
Aging is the greatest risk factor for the development of chronic diseases such as arthritis, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, frailty, and certain forms of cancers. It is widely regarded that chronic inflammation may be a common link in all these age-related diseases. This raises the provocative question, can one alter the course of aging and potentially slow the development of all chronic diseases by manipulating the mechanisms that cause age-related inflammation? Emerging evidence suggests that pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin-1 (IL-1) and IL-18 show an age-dependent regulation implicating inflammasome mediated caspase-1 activation in the aging process. The Nod-like receptor (NLR) family of innate immune cell sensors, such as the nucleotide-binding domain, leucine-rich-containing family, pyrin domain-containing-3 (NLRP3) inflammasome controls the caspase-1 activation in myeloid-lineage cells in several organs during aging. The NLRP3 inflammasome is especially relevant to aging as it can get activated in response to structurally diverse damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) such as extracellular ATP, excess glucose, ceramides, amyloids, urate and cholesterol crystals, all of which increase with age. Interestingly, reduction of NLRP3-mediated inflammation prevents age-related insulin-resistance, bone loss, cognitive decline and frailty. NLRP3 is a major driver of age-related inflammation and therefore dietary or pharmacological approaches to lower aberrant inflammasome activation holds promise in reducing multiple chronic diseases of age and may enhance healthspan.
Influenza A virus (IAV) infection–associated morbidity and mortality are a key global health care concern, necessitating the identification of new therapies capable of reducing the severity of IAV infections. In this study, we show that the consumption of a low-carbohydrate, high-fat ketogenic diet (KD) protects mice from lethal IAV infection and disease. KD feeding resulted in an expansion of γδ T cells in the lung that improved barrier functions, thereby enhancing antiviral resistance. Expansion of these protective γδ T cells required metabolic adaptation to a ketogenic diet because neither feeding mice a high-fat, high-carbohydrate diet nor providing chemical ketone body substrate that bypasses hepatic ketogenesis protected against infection. Therefore, KD-mediated immune-metabolic integration represents a viable avenue toward preventing or alleviating influenza disease.
Aging of the world population and a concomitant increase in age-related diseases and disabilities mandates the search for strategies to increase healthspan, the length of time an individual lives healthy and productively. Due to the age-related decline of the immune system, infectious diseases remain among the top 5–10 causes of mortality and morbidity in the elderly, and improving immune function during aging remains an important aspect of healthspan extension. Calorie restriction (CR) and more recently rapamycin (rapa) feeding have both been used to extend lifespan in mice. Preciously few studies have actually investigated the impact of each of these interventions upon in vivo immune defense against relevant microbial challenge in old organisms. We tested how rapa and CR each impacted the immune system in adult and old mice. We report that each intervention differentially altered T-cell development in the thymus, peripheral T-cell maintenance, T-cell function and host survival after West Nile virus infection, inducing distinct but deleterious consequences to the aging immune system. We conclude that neither rapa feeding nor CR, in the current form/administration regimen, may be optimal strategies for extending healthy immune function and, with it, lifespan.
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