Gamma-tocotrienol attenuates the aberrant lipid mediator production in NLRP3 inflammasome-stimulated macrophages

Yongeun Kim, Anthony D. Gromovsky, J. Mark Brown, Soonkyu Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The activation of NLRP3 inflammasome in innate immune cells is associated with enhanced production of pro-inflammatory lipid mediator eicosanoids that play a crucial role in propagating inflammation. Gamma-tocotrienol (γT3) is an unsaturated vitamin E that has been demonstrated to attenuate NLRP3-inflammasome. However, the role of γT3 in regulating eicosanoid formation is unknown. We hypothesized that γT3 abolishes the eicosanoid production by modulating the macrophage lipidome. LPS-primed bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDM) were stimulated with saturated fatty acids (SFA) along with γT3, and the effects of γT3 in modulating macrophage lipidome were quantified by using mass spectrometry based-shotgun lipidomic approaches. The SFA-mediated inflammasome activation induced robust changes in lipid species of glycerolipids (GL), glycerophospholipids (GPL), and sphingolipids in BMDM, which were distinctly different in the γT3-treated BMDM. The γT3 treatment caused substantial decreases of lysophospholipids (LysoPL), diacylglycerol (DAG), and free arachidonic acid (AA, C20:4), indicating that γT3 limits the availability of AA, the precursor for eicosanoids. This was confirmed by the pulse-chase experiment using [3H]-AA, and by diminished prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) secretion by ELISA. Concurrently, γT3 inhibited LPS-induced cyclooxygenases 2 (COX2) induction, further suppressing prostaglandin synthesis. In addition, γT3 attenuated ceramide synthesis by transcriptional downregulation of key enzymes for de novo synthesis. The altered lipid metabolism during inflammation is linked to reduced ATP production, which was partly rescued by γT3. Taken together, our work revealed that γT3 induces distinct modification of the macrophage lipidome to reduce AA release and corresponding lipid mediator synthesis, leading to attenuated cellular lipotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-177
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nutritional Biochemistry
StatePublished - Aug 2018


  • Arachidonic acid
  • Eicosanoids
  • Gamma tocotrienol
  • Lipidomics
  • NLRP3 inflammasome
  • PGE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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