Activation of Inflammasomes by Tumor Cell Death Mediated by Gold Nanoshells

H.T. Nguyen, K.K. Tran, B. Sun, H. Shen
University of Washington, US

Keywords: gold nanoshell, nanoplamonics, necrosis, ATP, inflammasome, IL-1β, DAMPs, immunotherapy


Gold nanoshell enabled photothermal therapy (NEPTT) utilizes the efficient thermal conversion of near infrared (NIR) light for the ablation of cancer cells. Cancer therapies that combine cell killing with the induction of a strong immune response against the dying tumor cells have been shown to increase therapeutic efficacy in the clearance and regression of cancers. In this study, we assessed the ability of dying cells generated by in vitro NEPTT, to activate inflammasome complexes. We quantified levels of major danger-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs), including adenosine triphosphate (ATP), adenosine diphosphate (ADP), and uric acid, released from a variety of tumor cell lines treated by NEPTT. The amount of DAMPs released was dependent on the dose of nanoshells internalized by cells. However, under all the employed conditions, the levels of generated DAMPs were insufficient to activate inflammasome complexes and to induce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (i.e. IL-1). The results from this study provide insights into the development of nanoplasmonics for combining both photothermal therapy and immunotherapy to eradicate cancers.