Objective: The NOD-like receptor protein 3 (NOD-like receptor protein 3, NLRP3) inflammasome is associated with many physiological processes related to aging. We investigated whether NLRP3 inflammasome activation contributes to the pathogenesis of cardiocytes aging dissected the underlying mechanism.

Methods: H9c2 cells were treated with different concentrations of D-galactose (D-gal, 0, 2, 10 and 50 g/L) for 24 hours. The cytochemical staining, flow cytometry and fluorescence microscope analysis were employed to detect the β-galactosidase (β-gal) activity. Western blot analysis was used to detect the age-associated proteins (P53, P21) and NLRP3 inflammasome proteins [NLRP3, apoptosis-associated speck-like protein (ASC)]. Confocal fluorescent images were applied to capture the colocalization of NLRP3 and caspase-1. Intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) was measured using 2’7’-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate (DCFH-DA) by flow cytometry and visualized using a fluorescence microscope. The IL-1β, IL-18 and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release were also detected.

Results: D-gal induced-H9c2 cells caused cardiocytes’ aging changes (β-gal staining, CellEvent™ Senescence Green staining, P53, P21) in a concentration-dependent manner. NLRP3 inflammasomes were activated, IL-1β, IL-18 and LDH release and ROS generation were increased in the cardiocytes aging progress. When MCC950 inhibited NLRP3 inflammasomes, it attenuated the cardiocytes aging, yet the ROS generation was similar. Inhibition of ROS by NAC attenuated cardiocytes aging and inhibited the NLRP3 inflammasome activation at the same time. NLRP3 inflammasome activation by nigericin-induced cardiocytes cells aging progress.

Conclusions: NLRP3 inflammasome activation contributes to the pathogenesis of cardiocytes aging, and ROS generation may serve as a potential mechanism by which NLRP3 inflammasome is activated.