NF-κB: A Double-Edged Sword Controlling Inflammation

Danhui Liu, Zhenyu Zhong, Michael Karin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Inflammation, when properly mounted and precisely calibrated, is a beneficial process that enables the rapid removal of invading pathogens and/or cellular corpses and promotes tissue repair/regeneration to restore homeostasis after injury. Being a paradigm of a rapid response transcription factor, the nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) transcription factor family plays a central role in amplifying inflammation by inducing the expression of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines. Additionally, NF-κB also induces the expression of pro-survival and-proliferative genes responsible for promoting tissue repair and regeneration. Paradoxically, recent studies have suggested that the NF-κB pathway can also exert inhibitory effects on pro-inflammatory cytokine production to temper inflammation. Here, we review our current understanding about the pro-and anti-inflammatory roles of NF-κB and discuss the implication of its dichotomous inflammation-modulating activity in the context of inflammasome activation and tumorigenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1250
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • NF-κB
  • NLRP3 inflammasome
  • cancer
  • inflammation
  • mitochondrial DNA
  • mitochondrial damage
  • mitophagy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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