Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.526, No.3, 772-779, 2020
Propionibacterium acnes induces intervertebral disc degeneration by promoting nucleus pulposus cell pyroptosis via NLRP3-dependent pathway
Recent evidence suggests that Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) is a novel pathogenic factor promoting intervertebral disc degeneration (IVDD), however, whose mechanism remains unclear. A key component of inflammatory responses to P. acnes appears to be interleukin (IL)-1 beta, which has been proved to be high expression in degenerative nucleus pulposus cells (NPCs). This study aimed to explore the inflammatory mechanism driving the host response to P. acnes infection in IVDD. Our data demonstrated that the number of nod-like receptor protein 3 (NLRP3)-positive cells was significantly increased in the P. acnesinfected nucleus pulposus (NP) tissue. Meanwhile, the up-regulated expressions of NLRP3, caspase-1, caspase-5, IL-1 beta, IL-18, Gasdermin D (GSDMD) were observed in NPCs after co-culturing with P. acnes, which suggested NPCs pyroptosis activation induced by P. acnes. To further investigate the underlying mechanisms, NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitor MCC950 and thioredoxin binding protein (TXNIP)-siRNA were used. With the addition of MCC950 to NPCs co-cultured with P. acnes in vitro, the secretions of mature IL-1 beta and IL-18 were reduced. Moreover, these MCC950-mediated effects were repeated by siRNA-transfected TXNIP knockdown. These results implied P. acnes activated inflammatory response by the TXNIP-NLRP3 pathway. To further reveal the anti-degeneration role of MCC950 in vivo, MCC950 was injected into the rabbit IVDD models infected by P. acnes. The MRI and histological detection provided more solid evidence that MCC950 treatment effectively retarded the degenerative process of the intervertebral discs in vivo. In summary, these results suggest that P. acnes-induced NPCs pyroptosis activation via the NLRP3-dependent pathway is likely responsible for the inflammatory pathology of IVDD. MCC950 can alleviate inflammatory injury and NPCs pyroptosis under P. acnes infection and may delay the progression of disc degeneration, which provides a new direction for the treatment of IVDD. (C) 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.