2019 Volume 44 Issue 3 Pages 213-224
The human cell line activation test (h-CLAT) is a skin sensitization test that measures the expression of cell surface proteins CD86 and CD54 to evaluate the skin sensitization potential of test chemicals. However, some skin irritants have been reported to induce dramatically high CD54 expression leading to false-positive h-CLAT results. Furthermore, CD54 expression is strongly induced by cytokines, such as interleukin (IL)-1β and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, or danger signals that activate its signaling pathways. In this study, we focused on the relationship between CD54 expression and the Nucleotide binding domain, leucine-rich-containing family, pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome, a protein complex that plays a pivotal role in intra-cellular inflammation. We observed the activation of caspase-1 and production of IL-1β after exposure of THP-1 cells to 2,4-dinitrochlorobenzene (DNCB, sensitizer), octanoic acid (OA, non-sensitizer), and salicylic acid (SA, non-sensitizer), implying NLRP3 activation. These observations confirmed the activation of the inflammasome by CD54-only positive chemicals. CD54 expression, induced by OA and SA, was suppressed by potassium chloride, a typical inhibitor of NLRP3 inflammasome activation. These results suggested that the NLRP3 inflammasome may be activated in THP-1 cells resulting in the expression of CD54, and subsequently leading to false-positive results.