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Ying Xue, Ran Li, Ping Fang, Zheng-qin Ye, Yong Zhao, Yun Zhou, Ke-qin Zhang, and Ling Li

Gouty arthritis is a common inflammatory disease characterized by monosodium urate (MSU) crystal induced nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain (NOD)-like receptor (NLR) family pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome activation with up-regulated caspase-1 protease and IL-1β in macrophages. Cucurbitacin B (CuB) is a tetracyclic triterpene that possesses a potential anti-inflammatory activity. However, the immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects of CuB on gout have not been well characterized. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to determine whether CuB exhibits anti-inflammatory effects on gout and to analyze the underlying molecular mechanism. We examined the effects of CuB on various stimuli-activated bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDMs) and the mice model with MSU-induced acute gouty arthritis. Our results demonstrated that CuB effectively suppressed multiple stimuli-activated IL-1β secretion by interrupting NLRP3 inflammasome complex formation, inhibiting NLRP3 inflammasome activation and suppressing key enzymes of glycolysis in macrophages. Consistent with this, CuB pretreatment also ameliorated MSU-induced arthritis in vivo models of gout arthritis, manifested by reduced foot swelling and inflammatory cell infiltration. Taken together, our data provide the evidence that CuB is a NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitor with therapeutic potential for treating NLRP3 inflammasome-mediated diseases, especially gouty arthritis.

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Lan Xu, Wenting Wang, Xinyue Zhang, Hanni Ke, Yingying Qin, Li You, Weiping Li, Gang Lu, Wai-Yee Chan, Peter C K Leung, Shidou Zhao, and Zi-Jiang Chen

Obesity is a worldwide health problem with rising incidence and results in reproductive difficulties. Elevated saturated free fatty acids (FFAs) in obesity can cause insulin resistance (IR) in peripheral tissues. The high intra-follicular saturated FFAs may also account for IR in ovarian granulosa cells (GCs). In the present study, we investigated the relationship between saturated FFAs and IR in GCs by the use of palmitic acid (PA). We demonstrated that the glucose uptake in cultured GCs and lactate accumulation in the culture medium were stimulated by insulin, but the effects of insulin were attenuated by PA treatment. Besides, insulin-induced phosphorylation of Akt was reduced by PA in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Furthermore, PA increased phosphorylation of JNK and JNK blockage rescued the phosphorylation of Akt which was downregulated by PA. These findings highlighted the negative effect of PA on GCs metabolism and may partially account for the obesity-related reproductive disorders.