Scientific publications

Decreased expression of the NLRP6 inflammasome is associated with increased intestinal permeability and inflammation in obesity with type 2 diabetes

Feb 5, 2024 | Magazine: Cellular and Molecular Life Science

Gema Frühbeck  1   2   3   4 , Javier Gómez-Ambrosi  5   6   7 , Beatriz Ramírez  5   6   7 , Sara Becerril  5   6   7 , Amaia Rodríguez  5   6   7 , Amaia Mentxaka  5 , Víctor Valentí  6   7   8 , Rafael Moncada  6   7   9 , Gabriel Reina  10 , Jorge Baixauli  8 , Marcos Casado  5 , Camilo Silva  6   11 , Javier Escalada  6   11 , Victoria Catalán  12   13   14

Background: Obesity-associated dysfunctional intestinal permeability contributes to systemic chronic inflammation leading to the development of metabolic diseases. The inflammasomes constitute essential components in the regulation of intestinal homeostasis. We aimed to determine the impact of the inflammasomes in the regulation of gut barrier dysfunction and metabolic inflammation in the context of obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Methods: Blood samples obtained from 80 volunteers (n = 20 normal weight, n = 21 OB without T2D, n = 39 OB with T2D) and a subgroup of jejunum samples were used in a case-control study. Circulating levels of intestinal damage markers and expression levels of inflammasomes as well as their main effectors (IL-1β and IL-18) and key inflammation-related genes were analyzed. The impact of inflammation-related factors, different metabolites and Akkermansia muciniphila in the regulation of inflammasomes and intestinal integrity genes was evaluated. The effect of blocking NLRP6 by using siRNA in inflammation was also studied.

Results: Increased circulating levels (P < 0.01) of the intestinal damage markers endotoxin, LBP, and zonulin in patients with obesity decreased (P < 0.05) after weight loss. Patients with obesity and T2D exhibited decreased (P < 0.05) jejunum gene expression levels of NLRP6 and its main effector IL18 together with increased (P < 0.05) mRNA levels of inflammatory markers. We further showed that while NLRP6 was primarily localized in goblet cells, NLRP3 was localized in the intestinal epithelial cells. Additionally, decreased (P < 0.05) mRNA levels of Nlrp1, Nlrp3 and Nlrp6 in the small intestinal tract obtained from rats with diet-induced obesity were found. NLRP6 expression was regulated by taurine, parthenolide and A. muciniphila in the human enterocyte cell line CCL-241. Finally, a significant decrease (P < 0.01) in the expression and release of MUC2 after the knockdown of NLRP6 was observed.

Conclusions: The increased levels of intestinal damage markers together with the downregulation of NLRP6 and IL18 in the jejunum in obesity-associated T2D suggest a defective inflammasome sensing, driving to an impaired epithelial intestinal barrier that may regulate the progression of multiple obesity-associated comorbidities.

CITATION  Cell Mol Life Sci. 2024 Feb 5;81(1):77. doi: 10.1007/s00018-024-05124-3