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Damaged mitochondria and chronic inflammatory conditions

Potential new way to treat chronic inflammatory diseases, by eliminating damaged mitochondria before they trigger excessive inflammation.

Using mouse models, the researchers found that removing damaged mitochondria prevented the acute inflammation seen in diseases such as gout, as well as the chronic inflammation seen in the genetic disease Muckle-Well Syndrome.

Inflammation is a protective process that the body uses to remove invading organisms or irritants, but too much inflammation can damage healthy cells and contribute to chronic diseases.

To help maintain balanced inflammation, cells of the immune system employ a multiprotein oligomer called the NLRP3 inflammasome. This molecular machinery is inactive or “switched off” when cells are healthy, but becomes activated once mitochondria are harmed by stress or bacterial toxins.

However, sometimes NLRP3 stays “switched on,” which can cause the excess inflammation seen in chronic inflammatory diseases such as osteoarthritis, gout and Alzheimer’s.

Now, Michael Karin and colleagues have potentially found a way to alleviate this inflammation by eliminating damaged mitochondria before NLRP3 has a chance to become activated.

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Posted on: April 13 2019

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