α-Synuclein evokes NLRP3 inflammasome-mediated IL-1β secretion from primary human microglia
*Corresponding author for this work
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › Academic › peer-review
Synucleinopathies such as Parkinson's disease (PD) are hallmarked by α-synuclein (α-syn) pathology and neuroinflammation. This neuroinflammation involves activated microglia with increased secretion of interleukin-1β (IL-1β). The main driver of IL-1β secretion from microglia is the NLRP3 inflammasome. A critical link between microglial NLRP3 inflammasome activation and the progression of both α-syn pathology and dopaminergic neurodegeneration has been identified in various PD models in vivo. α-Syn is known to activate the microglial NLRP3 inflammasome in murine models, but its relationship to this inflammasome in human microglia has not been established. In this study, IL-1β secretion from primary mouse microglia induced by α-syn fibrils was dependent on NLRP3 inflammasome assembly and caspase-1 activity, as previously reported. We show that exposure of primary human microglia to α-syn fibrils also resulted in significant IL-1β secretion that was dependent on inflammasome assembly and involved the recruitment of caspase-1 protein to inflammasome scaffolds as visualized with superresolution microscopy. While canonical IL-1β secretion was clearly dependent on caspase-1 enzymatic activity, this activity was less clearly involved for α-syn-induced IL-1β secretion from human microglia. This work presents similarities between primary human and mouse microglia in the mechanisms of activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome by α-syn, but also highlights evidence to suggest that there may be a difference in the requirement for caspase-1 activity in IL-1β output. The data represent a novel characterization of PD-related NLRP3 inflammasome activation in primary human microglia and further implicate this mechanism in the pathology underlying PD.