Taurine attenuates arsenic-induced pyroptosis and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis by inhibiting the autophagic-inflammasomal pathway

Arsenic exposure causes non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Inflammation is a key contributor to the pathology of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), including NASH. However, it is unclear how arsenic induces inflammation. In mouse livers, the authors show that arsenic trioxide (As2O3) induced NASH, increased autophagy and NLRP3 inflammasome activation, increased lipid accumulation, and resulted in dysregulation of lipid-related genes. Supplemented with taurine (Tau) attenuated the inflammation and autophagy caused by As2O3. In HepG2 cells, it was found that As2O3-induced pyroptotic cell death was dependent upon the activation of NLRP3 inflammasome, which was CTSB-dependent. In addition, inhibiting autophagy alleviated the As2O3-induced increase of cytosolic CTSB expression and subsequent release of LDH, activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome, and pyroptosis. Moreover, the authors discovered that Tau alleviated As2O3-induced elevation of autophagy, CTSB expression, and activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome, and reduced the release of LDH, pyroptotic cell death, and inflammation. Interestingly, As2O3-induced lipid accumulation could not be alleviated by either inhibition of autophagy nor by inhibition of CTSB. Additionally, neither inhibition of the NLRP3 inflammasome or Tau treatment could alleviate lipid accumulation. These results demonstrated that As2O3-induced pyroptosis involves autophagy, CTSB, and the NLRP3 inflammasome cascade, and that Tau alleviates As2O3-induced liver inflammation by inhibiting the autophagic-CTSB-NLRP3 inflammasomal pathway rather than decreasing lipid accumulation. These findings give insight into the association of autophagy, inflammation, pyroptosis, and NASH induced by As2O3.

Authors: Qiu T, Pei P, Yao X, Jiang L, Wei S, Wang Z, Bai J, Yang G, Gao N, Yang L, Qi S, Yan R, Liu X, Sun X. ; Full Source: Cell Death & Disease. 2018 Sep 20;9(10):946. doi: 10.1038/s41419-018-1004-0.