Colchicine reduces extracellular vesicle NLRP3 inflammasome protein levels in chronic coronary disease: A LoDoCo2 biomarker substudy

Max J. M. Silvis, Aernoud T. L. Fiolet, Tjerk S. J. Opstal, Mirthe Dekker, Daniel Suquilanda, Minka Zivkovic, Michiel Duyvendak, Salem H. K. The, Leo Timmers, Willem A. Bax, Arend Mosterd, Jan H. Cornel, Dominique P. V. de Kleijn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background and aims: Colchicine reduces the risk of cardiovascular events in patients with coronary disease. Colchicine has broad anti-inflammatory effects and part of the atheroprotective effects have been suggested to be the result of NLRP3 inflammasome inhibition. We studied the effect of colchicine on extracellular vesicle (EV) NLRP3 protein levels and inflammatory markers, high sensitivity-CRP (hs-CRP) and interleukin (IL)-6, in patients with chronic coronary disease. Methods: In vitro, the NLRP3 inflammasome was stimulated in PMA-differentiated- and undifferentiated THP-1 cells. In vivo, measurements were performed in serum obtained from 278 participants of the LoDoCo2 trial, one year after randomization to colchicine 0.5 mg once daily or placebo. EVs were isolated using precipitation. NLRP3 protein presence in EVs was confirmed using iodixanol density gradient centrifugation. Levels of NLRP3 protein, hs-CRP and IL-6 were measured using ELISA. Results: In vitro, NLRP3 inflammasome stimulation showed an increase of EV NLRP3 protein levels. EV NLRP3 protein levels were lower in patients treated with colchicine (median 1.38 ng/mL), compared to placebo (median 1.58 ng/mL) (p = 0.025). No difference was observed in serum NLRP3 protein levels. Serum hs-CRP levels were lower in patients treated with colchicine (median 0.80 mg/L) compared to placebo (median 1.34 mg/L) (p < 0.005). IL-6 levels were lower in patients treated with colchicine (median 2.07 ng/L) compared to placebo (median 2.59 ng/L), although this was not statistically significant (p = 0.076). Conclusions: Colchicine leads to a reduction of EV NLRP3 protein levels. This indicates that inhibitory effects on the NLRP3 inflammasome might contribute to the atheroprotective effects of colchicine in coronary disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-100
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021

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