Myeloid caspase-8 restricts RIPK3-dependent proinflammatory IL-1β production and CD4 T cell activation in autoimmune demyelination

Sunja Kim, Hsueh Chung Lu, Andrew J. Steelman, Jianrong Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Caspase-8 functions at the crossroad of programmed cell death and inflammation. Here, using genetic approaches and the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis model of inflammatory demyelination, we identified a negative regulatory pathway for caspase-8 in infiltrated macrophages whereby it functions to restrain interleukin (IL)-1β–driven autoimmune inflammation. Caspase-8 is partially activated in macrophages/microglia in active lesions of multiple sclerosis. Selective ablation of Casp8 in myeloid cells, but not microglia, exacerbated autoimmune demyelination. Heightened IL-1β production by caspase-8–deficient macrophages underlies exacerbated activation of encephalitogenic T cells and production of GM-CSF and interferon-γ. Mechanistically, IL-1β overproduction by primed caspase-8–deficient macrophages was mediated by RIPK1/RIPK3 through the engagement of NLRP3 inflammasome and was independent of cell death. When instructed by autoreactive CD4 T cells in the presence of antigen, caspase-8–deficient macrophages, but not their wild-type counterparts, released significant amount of IL-1β that in turn acted through IL-1R to amplify T cell activation. Moreover, the worsened experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis progression in myeloid Casp8 mutant mice was completely reversed when Ripk3 was simultaneously deleted. Together, these data reveal a functional link between T cell-driven autoimmunity and inflammatory IL-1β that is negatively regulated by caspase-8, and suggest that dysregulation of the pathway may contribute to inflammatory autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2117636119
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number24
StatePublished - Jun 14 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • EAE
  • caspase-8
  • inflammasome
  • multiple sclerosis
  • myeloid cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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