NLRP3 inflammasome activation contributes to Listeria monocytogenes-induced animal pregnancy failure

Wenyan Li, Yumei Chang, Shuang Liang, Zhenyu Zhong, Xiujin Li, Jiexia Wen, Yonghong Zhang, Jianlou Zhang, Liyue Wang, Hongyu Lin, Xuebin Cao, Heling Huang, Fei Zhong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Listeria monocytogenes (LM), a foodborne pathogen, can cause pregnancy failure in animals, especially in ruminants. Recent studies have shown that LM activates inflammasomes to induce IL-1β release in macrophages, however, whether the inflammasome activation regulates LM-induced pregnancy failure remains largely unknown. Here we used mouse model to investigate the molecular mechanism by which LM-induced inflammsome activation contributes to LM-associated pregnancy failure Results: We showed that wild-type, but not Listeriolysin O-deficient (Δhly) LM, significantly reduced mouse embryo survival, accompanied by the increase of IL-1β release and caspase-1 activation. IL-1β neutralization significantly reduced the LM-induced embryo losses, suggesting that LM-induced pregnancy failure was associated with LLO-induced inflammasome activation. To dissect the inflammasome sensor and components responsible for LM-induced caspase-1 activation and IL-1β production, we used wild-type and NLRP3-/-, AIM2-/-, NLRC4-/-, ASC-/-, caspase-1-/- and cathepsin B-/- mouse macrophages to test the roles of these molecules in LM-induce IL-1β production. We found that NLRP3 inflammasome was the main pathway in LM-induced caspase-1 activation and IL-1β production. To explore the mechanism of LM-induced pregnancy failure, we investigated the effects of LM-infected macrophages on SM9-1 mouse trophoblasts. We found that the conditioned medium from LM-infected-macrophage or the recombinant IL-1β significantly up-regulated TNFα, IL-6 and IL-8 productions in trophoblasts, suggesting that the LM-induced macrophage inflammasome activation increased trophoblast pro-inflammatory cytokine production, which was adverse to the animal pregnancy maintenance. Conclusions: Our data demonstrated that the LLO-induced NLRP3 inflammasome activation plays a key role in LM-induced pregnancy failure, and inflammasome-mediated macrophage dysregulation on trophoblasts might be involved in the pregnancy failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number36
JournalBMC Veterinary Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 24 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Inflammasome
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Listeriolysin O
  • NLRP3
  • Pregnancy failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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