Nutraceutical strategies for suppressing nlrp3 inflammasome activation: Pertinence to the management of covid-19 and beyond

Mark F. McCarty, Simon Bernard Iloki Assanga, Lidianys Lewis Luján, James H. O’keefe, James J. Dinicolantonio*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Inflammasomes are intracellular protein complexes that form in response to a variety of stress signals and that serve to catalyze the proteolytic conversion of pro-interleukin-1β and pro-interleukin-18 to active interleukin-1β and interleukin-18, central mediators of the inflammatory response; inflammasomes can also promote a type of cell death known as pyroptosis. The NLRP3 inflammasome has received the most study and plays an important pathogenic role in a vast range of pathologies associated with inflammation—including atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, the complications of diabetes, neurological and autoimmune disorders, dry macular degeneration, gout, and the cytokine storm phase of COVID-19. A consideration of the molecular biology underlying inflammasome priming and activation enables the prediction that a range of nutraceuticals may have clinical potential for suppressing inflammasome activity—antioxidants including phycocyanobilin, phase 2 inducers, melatonin, and N-acetylcysteine, the AMPK activator berberine, glucosamine, zinc, and various nutraceuticals that support generation of hydrogen sulfide. Complex nutraceuticals or functional foods featuring a number of these agents may find utility in the prevention and control of a wide range of medical disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number47
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Li-censee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Berberine
  • COVID-19
  • Ferulic acid
  • Glucosamine
  • Inflammasomes
  • Lipoic acid
  • Macular degeneration
  • N-acetylcysteine
  • NLRP3
  • Phycocyanobilin
  • Zinc


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