Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a deadly human cancer associated with chronic inflammation. The cytosolic pathogen sensor NLRP12 has emerged as a negative regulator of inflammation, but its role in HCC is unknown. Here we investigated the role of NLRP12 in HCC using mouse models of HCC induced by carcinogen diethylnitrosamine (DEN). Nlrp12-/- mice were highly susceptible to DEN-induced HCC with increased inflammation, hepatocyte proliferation, and tumor burden. Consistently, Nlrp12-/- tumors showed higher expression of proto-oncogenes cJun and cMyc and downregulation of tumor suppressor p21. Interestingly, antibiotics treatment dramatically diminished tumorigenesis in Nlrp12-/- mouse livers. Signaling analyses demonstrated higher JNK activation in Nlrp12-/- HCC and cultured hepatocytes during stimulation with microbial pattern molecules. JNK inhibition or NLRP12 overexpression reduced proliferative and inflammatory responses of Nlrp12-/- hepatocytes. In summary, NLRP12 negatively regulates HCC pathogenesis via downregulation of JNK-dependent inflammation and proliferation of hepatocytes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)