Is the Inflammasome Pathway Active in the Peripheral Blood of Sulfur Mustard-exposed Patients?
The mustard lung is a late consequence of exposure to sulfur mustard (SM) in veterans who had participated in the Iraq-Iran war. Three mechanisms are contributed in the pathogenesis of mustard lung including oxidative stress, protease-antiprotease imbalance, and dysregulated immune response. In the context of the immune response, the role of the inflammasome complex and their inflammatory cytokines are important. This study aims to investigate the inflammasome pathway and their inflammatory cytokine (i.e IL-1 and IL-18) in the peripheral blood of mustard lung patients as well as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients. This research was conducted as a cross-sectional analytical study on 15 SM patients and was compared with 15 COPD patients and 15 healthy controls. The real-time polymerase chain reaction was used to assess gene expression levels of inflammasome components (NLRP1, NLRP3, NLRC4, and ASC), inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IL-18, and IL-1βR), and IL-37 as an anti-inflammatory cytokine. Finally, the data were analyzed by SPSS version 21 software. The gene expression level of molecules involved in inflammasome pathway showed a slight increase in the peripheral blood of SM and COPD patients compared to the control group. However, this difference was not statistically significant. Only IL-37 and NLRP1 had a significant increase in mustard lung and COPD patients; compared to healthy controls (p<0.05). Due to the normal expression of genes involved in the inflammasome pathway, it can be stated that the inflammasome pathway is not active in the blood of mustard lung patients.
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