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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 5858315, 13 pages
Research Article

A Novel Role for Brain Natriuretic Peptide: Inhibition of IL-1 Secretion via Downregulation of NF-kB/Erk 1/2 and NALP3/ASC/Caspase-1 Activation in Human THP-1 Monocyte

Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Perugia, Piazzale L. Severi 1, 06129 Perugia, Italy

Correspondence should be addressed to Letizia Mezzasoma

Received 8 September 2016; Revised 15 December 2016; Accepted 18 January 2017; Published 26 February 2017

Academic Editor: Hermann Gram

Copyright © 2017 Letizia Mezzasoma et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Interleukin-1β (IL-1β) is a pleiotropic cytokine and a crucial mediator of inflammatory and immune responses. IL-1β processing and release are tightly controlled by complex pathways such as NF-kB/ERK1/2, to produce pro-IL-1β, and NALP3/ASC/Caspase-1 inflammasome, to produce the active secreted protein. Dysregulation of both IL-1β and its related pathways is involved in inflammatory/autoimmune disorders and in a wide range of other diseases. Identifying molecules modulating their expression is a crucial need to develop new therapeutic agents. IL-1β is a strong regulator of Brain Natriuretic Peptide (BNP), a hormone involved in cardiovascular homeostasis by guanylyl cyclase Natriuretic Peptide Receptor (NPR-1). An emerging role of BNP in inflammation and immunity, although proposed, remains largely unexplored. Here, we newly demonstrated that, in human THP-1 monocytes, LPS/ATP-induced IL-1β secretion is strongly inhibited by BNP/NPR-1/cGMP axis at all the molecular mechanisms that tightly control its production and release, NF-kB, ERK 1/2, and all the elements of NALP3/ASC/Caspase-1 inflammasome cascade, and that NALP3 inflammasome inhibition is directly related to BNP deregulatory effect on NF-kB/ERK 1/2 activation. Our findings reveal a novel potent anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory role for BNP and open new alleys of investigation for a possible employment of this endogenous agent in the treatment of inflammatory/immune-related and IL-1β/NF-kB/ERK1/2/NALP3/ASC/Caspase-1-associated diseases.