This study explored the therapeutic effect of VDR agonist on LN and its molecular mechanism to inhibit NLRP3 signalling.
C57BL/6 mice, lupus-prone MRL/lpr mice, and VDR agonist paricacitol-treated MRL/lpr mice (300 ng/kg/mouse per dose, 5 times/week for 8 weeks from 8 weeks old) were used to assess kidney histopathology and measure proteinuria, serum anti-ds-DNA antibody and expression of NF-κB/NLRP3/caspase-1/IL-1β/IL-18 axis. We used mouse renal tubular epithelial cells (mRTECs) to identify protein-protein interactions and examine the effects of paricalcitol.
LN pathogenesis decreased after paricalcitol treatment. We observed a marked improvement in renal pathology and a time-dependent decrease urine protein and serum anti-dsDNA antibody levels. In 16-week-old MRL/lpr LN mice, the upregulated expression of NLRP3/caspase-1/IL-1β/IL-18 axis was significantly downregulated after paricalcitol treatment. Paricalcitol can reverse the apoptosis induced by anti-dsDNA antibody via the NF-κB/NLRP3/caspase-1/IL-1β/IL-18 axis in mRTECs. Furthermore, paricalcitol suppressed NF-κB nuclear translocation by competitively binding to importin-4. In summary, the VDR agonist can alleviate LN by modulating the NF-κB/NLRP3/caspase-1/IL-1β/IL-18 axis and suppressing the NF-κB nuclear translocation.
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