The Emerging Role of Inflammasomes as Central Mediators in Inflammatory Bladder Pathology.

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Irritative voiding symptoms (e.g. increased frequency and urgency) occur in many common pathologic conditions such as urinary tract infections and bladder outlet obstruction, and these conditions are well-established to have underlying inflammation that directly triggers these symptoms. However, it remains unclear as to how such diverse stimuli individually generate a common inflammatory process. Jürg Tschopp provided substantial insight into this conundrum when, working with extracts from THP-1 cells, he reported the existence of the inflammasome. He described it as a structure that senses multiple diverse signals from intracellular/extracellular sources and pathogens and triggers inflammation by the maturation and release of the pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin-1β and interleukin-18. Recently, many of these sensors were found in the bladder and the nucleotide-binding domain, leucine-rich-containing family, pyrin domain-containing-3, has been shown to be a central mediator of inflammation in several urological diseases. In this review, we introduce the nucleotide-binding domain, leucine-rich-containing family, pyrin domaincontaining-3 inflammasome, highlight its emerging role in several common urologic conditions, and speculate on the potential involvement of other inflammasomes in bladder pathology.





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Inouye, Brian M, Francis M Hughes, Stephanie J Sexton and J Todd Purves (2018). The Emerging Role of Inflammasomes as Central Mediators in Inflammatory Bladder Pathology. Current urology, 11(2). pp. 57–72. 10.1159/000447196 Retrieved from

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Monty Hughes

Assistant Professor in Urology

 Dr. Hughes received his Ph.D. from the Medical University of South Carolina and was a post doc at both the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and NIH. He then joined the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where he rose to the rank of Associate Professor (with tenure). Following a brief stint as the director of the biology division of a start-up pharmaceutical company, he joined forces with Dr. Purves at the Medical University of South Carolina to begin this lab focused on benign urinary disorders. Dr. Hughes has been at Duke since 2015. He is currently an Assistant Professor working within the Department of Surgery and Division of Urology. He serves as the Director of the Urinary Dysfunction Laboratory which studies the role of inflammation in disorders such as bladder outlet obstruction and diabetic bladder dysfunction. In association with Dr. J Todd Purves, this lab has been instrumental in demonstrating the central importance of the NLRP3 inflammasome in sensing the biochemical stressors associated with these disorders and translating them into an inflammatory signal. This signal is ultimately responsible for changes in voiding function, denervation and fibrosis.


J Todd Purves

Professor of Urology

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