Recent studies have demonstrated that l-homocysteine (Hcys)-induced podocyte injury leading to glomerular damage or sclerosis is attributable to the activation of the nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain–like receptor containing pyrin domain 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome. Given the demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects of endocannabinoids, the present study was designed to test whether anandamide (AEA) or its metabolites diminish NLRP3 inflammasome activation and prevent podocyte injury and associated glomerular damage during hyperhomocysteinemia (hHcys). AEA (100 μM) inhibited Hcys-induced NLRP3 inflammasome activation in cultured podocytes, as indicated by elevated caspase-1 activity and interleukin-1β levels, and attenuated podocyte dysfunction, as shown by reduced vascular endothelial growth factor production. These effects of AEA were inhibited by the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitor celecoxib (CEL). In mice in vivo, AEA treatment attenuated glomerular NLRP3 inflammasome activation induced by hHcys accompanying a folate-free diet, on the basis of inhibition of hHcys-induced colocalization of NLRP3 molecules and increased interleukin-1β levels in glomeruli. Correspondingly, AEA prevented hHcys-induced proteinuria, albuminuria, and glomerular damage observed microscopically. Hcys- and AEA-induced effects were absent in NLRP3-knockout mice. These beneficial effects of AEA against hHcys-induced NLRP3 inflammasome activation and glomerular injury were not observed in mice cotreated with CEL. We further demonstrated that prostaglandin E2-ethanolamide (PGE2-EA), a COX-2 product of AEA, at 10 μM had a similar inhibitory effect to that of 100 μM AEA on Hcys-induced NLRP3 inflammasome formation and activation in cultured podocytes. From these results, we conclude that AEA has anti-inflammatory properties, protecting podocytes from Hcys-induced injury by inhibition of NLRP3 inflammasome activation through its COX-2 metabolite, PGE2-EA.
- Received March 1, 2016.
- Accepted April 28, 2016.
1 Contributed equally to this work.
This study was supported by National Institutes of Health National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease [Grants DK102539 and DK54927] and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute [Grants HL75316 and HL57244].
- Copyright © 2016 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics