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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2016, Article ID 5271251, 11 pages
Research Article

Pharmacological Inhibition of NLRP3 Inflammasome Attenuates Myocardial Ischemia/Reperfusion Injury by Activation of RISK and Mitochondrial Pathways

1Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, Torino, Italy
2Department of Drug Science and Technology, University of Turin, Torino, Italy
3Department of Life Sciences and Systems Biology, University of Turin, Torino, Italy

Received 7 September 2016; Revised 12 October 2016; Accepted 23 October 2016

Academic Editor: Cecilia Zazueta

Copyright © 2016 Raffaella Mastrocola 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.


Although the nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain- (NOD-) like receptor pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome has been recently detected in the heart, its role in cardiac ischemia/reperfusion (IR) is still controversial. Here, we investigate whether a pharmacological modulation of NLRP3 inflammasome exerted protective effects in an ex vivo model of IR injury. Isolated hearts from male Wistar rats (5-6 months old) underwent ischemia (30 min) followed by reperfusion (20 or 60 min) with and without pretreatment with the recently synthetized NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitor INF4E (50 μM, 20 min before ischemia). INF4E exerted protection against myocardial IR, shown by a significant reduction in infarct size and lactate dehydrogenase release and improvement in postischemic left ventricular pressure. The formation of the NLRP3 inflammasome complex was induced by myocardial IR and attenuated by INF4E in a time-dependent way. Interestingly, the hearts of the INF4E-pretreated animals displayed a marked improvement of the protective RISK pathway and this effect was associated increase in expression of markers of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation. Our results demonstrate for the first time that INF4E protected against the IR-induced myocardial injury and dysfunction, by a mechanism that involves inhibition of the NLRP3 inflammasome, resulting in the activation of the prosurvival RISK pathway and improvement in mitochondrial function.