MCC950, a selective NLPR3 inflammasome inhibitor, improves neurologic function and survival after cardiac arrest and resuscitation.



Cardiac arrest (CA) is associated with high morbidity and mortality, even after spontaneous circulation is re-established. This dire situation is partly due to post-CA syndrome for which no specific and effective intervention is available. One key component of post-CA syndrome is sterile inflammation, which affects various organs including the brain. A major effector of sterile inflammation is activated NLRP3 inflammasome, which leads to increased release of interleukin (IL)-1β. However, how NLRP3 inflammasome impacts neuroinflammation and neurologic outcome after CA is largely undefined.


Mice were subjected to a potassium-based murine CA and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) model. MCC950 was used to suppress activation of NLRP3 inflammasome after CA/CPR. Levels of protein and mRNA were examined by Western blotting and quantitative PCR, respectively. Immunologic changes were assessed by measuring cytokine expression and immune cell compositions. CA outcomes, including neurologic deficits, bacterial load in the lung, and survival rate, were evaluated.


Using our CA/CPR model, we found that NLRP3 inflammasome was activated in the post-CA brain, and that pro-inflammatory cytokine levels, including IL-1β, were increased. After treatment with MCC950, a potent and selective NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitor, mice exhibited improved functional recovery and survival rate during the 14-day observational period after CA/CPR. In line with these findings, IL-1β mRNA levels in the post-CA brain were significantly suppressed after MCC950 treatment. Interestingly, we also found that in MCC950- vs. vehicle-treated CA mice, immune homeostasis in the spleen was better preserved and bacterial load in the lung was significantly reduced.


Our data demonstrate that activation of NLRP3 inflammasome could be a key event shaping the post-CA immuno- and neuro-pathology, and identify this pathway as a unique and promising therapeutic target to improve outcomes after CA/CPR.





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Publication Info

Jiang, Maorong, Ran Li, Jingjun Lyu, Xuan Li, Wei Wang, Zhuoran Wang, Huaxin Sheng, Weiguo Zhang, et al. (2020). MCC950, a selective NLPR3 inflammasome inhibitor, improves neurologic function and survival after cardiac arrest and resuscitation. Journal of neuroinflammation, 17(1). p. 256. 10.1186/s12974-020-01933-y Retrieved from

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Weiguo Zhang

Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Immunology

Activation via the T-cell antigen receptor (TCR) triggers a cascade of intracellular biochemical events eventually leading to T-cell proliferation and effector functions. One of the earliest events is the activation of the Src family tyrosine kinases Fyn and Lck. The activated Src family kinases phosphorylate the CD3 subunits and TCRζ chains. ZAP-70 tyrosine kinase is recruited to the antigen receptors via the binding to CD3 and TCRζ. ZAP-70 is then tyrosine phosphorylated by these Src family kinases and thus activated. These activated tyrosine kinases further phosphorylate a number of intracellular proteins, such as PLC-γ1, Vav, Cbl, SLP-76, and LAT, and activate downstream signaling pathways including the Ras-MAPK pathway and Ca2+flux. Activation of these two pathways is required for AP-1 and NFAT-mediated transcription, IL-2 production, and T-cell proliferation.

Our primary interest of the laboratory is to understand the role of membrane-associated adaptor proteins in lymphocyte activation, development, and immune response. One of these proteins is LAT (Linker for Activation of T-cells). LAT is tyrosine phosphorylated upon T-cell activation and associates with several signaling molecules including Grb2, Gads, and PLC-γ1. LAT-deficient T-cells are defective in the Ras-MAPK activation and Ca2+ flux after the TCR engagement. LAT knockout mice have an early block in thymocyte development. Interestingly, mice with a mutation in LAT develop a severe autoimmune disease. We are investigating how LAT interacts with other signaling proteins and how LAT regulates T cell activation and immune responses.

In addition to LAT, we are working on two LAT-like molecules, LAB and LAX. We have generated mice deficient in these proteins and are analyzing the phenotypes of these mice to determine the role of these proteins in lymphocyte signaling and immune responses.

We are also interested in FcεRI-mediated signaling. We are working on the role of LAT, LAB, and RasGRP1 in FcεRI-mediated signaling, mast cell function, and allergic responses.

Our long-term goal is to understand the details of immunoreceptor-mediated signaling pathways. Understanding these signaling pathways may identify therapeutic targets that could facilitate the development of drugs that suppress, modify, or augment immune responses in autoimmunity, transplantation, allergy, and cancer.


Wei Yang

Professor in Anesthesiology

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