Carbon monoxide releasing molecule-2 protects against particulate matter-induced lung inflammation by inhibiting TLR2 and 4/ROS/NLRP3 inflammasome activation

Chiang Wen Lee, Miao Ching Chi, Lee Fen Hsu, Chuen Mao Yang, Tsui Hua Hsu, Chu Chun Chuang, Wei Ning Lin, Pei Ming Chu, I. Ta Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


Exposure to airborne particulate matter (PM)not only causes lung inflammation and chronic respiratory diseases, but also increases the incidence and mortality of cardiopulmonary diseases. The nucleotide-binding domain and leucine-rich repeat protein 3 (NLRP3)inflammasome activation has been shown to play a critical role in the formation of many chronic disorders. On the other hand, carbon monoxide (CO)has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects in many tissues and organs. Here, we investigated the effects and mechanisms of carbon monoxide releasing molecule-2 (CORM-2)on PM-induced inflammatory responses in human pulmonary alveolar epithelial cells (HPAEpiCs). We found that PM induced C-reactive protein (CRP)expression, NLRP3 inflammasome activation, IL-1β secretion, and caspase-1 activation, which were inhibited by pretreatment with CORM-2. In addition, transfection with siRNA of Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2)or TLR4 and pretreatment with an antioxidant (N-acetyl-cysteine, NAC), the inhibitor of NADPH oxidase (diphenyleneiodonium, DPI), or a mitochondria-specific superoxide scavenger (MitoTEMPO)reduced PM-induced inflammatory responses. CORM-2 also inhibited PM-induced NADPH oxidase activity and NADPH oxidase- and mitochondria-derived ROS generation. However, pretreatment with inactivate CORM-2 (iCORM-2)had no effects on PM-induced inflammatory responses. Finally, we showed that CORM-2 inhibited PM-induced CRP, NLRP3 inflammasome, and ASC protein expression in the lung tissues of mice and IL-1β levels in the serum of mice. PM-enhanced leukocyte count in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid in mice was reduced by CORM-2. The results of this study suggested a protective role of CORM-2 in PM-induced lung inflammation by inhibiting the TLR2 and TLR4/ROS-NLRP3 inflammasome-CRP axial.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-174
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Immunology
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2019



  • Carbon monoxide
  • Inflammasome
  • Lung inflammation
  • Particulate matter
  • Reactive oxygen species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology

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