Abstract

The NOD-like receptor (NLR) family, pyrin domain–containing protein 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome is a component of the inflammatory process, and its aberrant activation is pathogenic in inherited disorders such as cryopyrin-associated periodic syndrome (CAPS) and complex diseases such as multiple sclerosis, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and atherosclerosis. We describe the development of MCC950, a potent, selective, small-molecule inhibitor of NLRP3. MCC950 blocked canonical and noncanonical NLRP3 activation at nanomolar concentrations. MCC950 specifically inhibited activation of NLRP3 but not the AIM2, NLRC4 or NLRP1 inflammasomes. MCC950 reduced interleukin-1β (IL-1β) production in vivo and attenuated the severity of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a disease model of multiple sclerosis. Furthermore, MCC950 treatment rescued neonatal lethality in a mouse model of CAPS and was active in ex vivo samples from individuals with Muckle–Wells syndrome. MCC950 is thus a potential therapeutic for NLRP3-associated syndromes, including autoinflammatory and autoimmune diseases, and a tool for further study of the NLRP3 inflammasome in human health and disease.

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Acknowledgements

We thank A. Kitanovic (German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases) for image analysis (Fig. 3c), S. Corr (Trinity College Dublin) for providing S. typhimurium UK-1 strain and H.M. Hoffman (University of California, San Diego) for providing Nlrp3 (A350VneoR) mice. This work was supported by the following funding bodies, grants and fellowships. L.A.J.O'N. and R.C.C.: Science Foundation Ireland (G20598). D.L.K. and J.J.C.: Intramural Research Program of the National Human Genome Research Institute, US National Institutes of Health. S.C.H., C.E.S. and K.H.G.M.: Science Foundation Ireland (11/PI/1036) and (07/SRC/B1144). I.V.: Australian Research Council (FT130101215). G.N.: US National Institutes of Health (DK091191) and (DK095782). E.L.: German Research Foundation (SFB645, SFB670, SFB704, TRR57), European Research Council (ERC, InflammAct) and Excellence Cluster ImmunoSensation. S.L.M.: VESKI innovation fellowship and National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (1032065) and (1057815). K.S.: Queensland Smart Futures Fund and Australian Research Council (FT130100361). L.A.J.O'N.: ERC Advanced Grant (E12435).

Author information

Affiliations

  1. School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.

    • Rebecca C Coll
    • , Sarah C Higgins
    • , Lara S Dungan
    • , Moritz Haneklaus
    • , Caroline E Sutton
    • , Kingston H G Mills
    •  & Luke A J O'Neill
  2. Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

    • Rebecca C Coll
    • , Avril A B Robertson
    • , Marco C Inserra
    • , Irina Vetter
    • , Daniel E Croker
    • , Mark S Butler
    • , Kate Schroder
    •  & Matthew A Cooper
  3. Inflammatory Disease Section, Medical Genetics Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

    • Jae Jin Chae
    •  & Daniel L Kastner
  4. Department of Pathology and Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.

    • Raúl Muñoz-Planillo
    •  & Gabriel Núñez
  5. School of Pharmacy, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

    • Marco C Inserra
    •  & Irina Vetter
  6. Institute of Innate Immunity, University Hospital, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany.

    • Brian G Monks
    • , Andrea Stutz
    •  & Eicke Latz
  7. Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA.

    • Eicke Latz
  8. German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Bonn, Germany.

    • Eicke Latz
  9. The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Parkville, Australia.

    • Seth L Masters

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Contributions

R.C.C. performed and analyzed the experiments described in Figures 1b–j, 2, 3a,b and 4f–h and Supplementary Figure 6b–g; helped analyze the experiments described in Figure 5a–c and Supplementary Figure 6h,i; and wrote the manuscript. A.A.B.R. synthesized MCC950, conducted formulation for in vivo studies, determined compound pharmacokinetics, helped write the manuscript and provided advice. J.J.C. performed the experiments described in Figure 6f and Supplementary Figure 8. S.C.H. performed and analyzed the experiment described in Figure 5d–g. R.M.-P. performed the experiments described in Figure 4a,b. M.C.I. and I.V. performed the experiments described in Figure 4c–e. L.S.D. performed the experiment described in Figure 5a–c. B.G.M. and A.S. performed the experiments described in Figure 3c and Supplementary Figure 7. D.E.C. performed the experiments described in Supplementary Figure 6a. M.S.B. performed the NMR analysis described in Supplementary Figures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and Supplementary Table 1. M.H. performed the experiments described in Supplementary Figure 6h,i. C.E.S. helped analyze data from the experiment described in Figure 5d–g. G.N., E.L. and D.L.K. oversaw a portion of the work. K.H.G.M. conceived ideas and oversaw a portion of the work. S.L.M. performed and analyzed the experiments described in Figure 6a–e. K.S., S.L.M. and M.A.C. conceived ideas, oversaw a portion of the work, reviewed the manuscript and provided advice. L.A.J.O'N. conceived ideas, oversaw the research program and wrote the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Matthew A Cooper or Luke A J O'Neill.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nm.3806