We thank Oliviero and colleagues for their interest in our recent publication  and for reporting their very interesting related experiments . Their results strongly support the concept that extravascular plasma proteins may act as damage-associated molecular patterns, and specifically as Toll-like receptor 4 agonists. In addition, we note that the NALP-3 inflammasome exhibits dependence on Toll-like receptor 4 or other mechanisms of priming of IL-1β transcription, thereby generating pro-IL-1β that can be converted to IL-1β by the activated inflammasome .
Although biochemical measurement of plasma and serum were not performed, we suspect the enhanced effect of serum compared with plasma could be related to mediators generated in the clotting process or released by platelets during the clotting process (but not released in the generation of plasma) and not related to the removal of fibrinogen. The observation that fibrinogen is itself able to prime the response to calcium crystal-induced inflammation further supports the role of fibrinogen as a Toll-like receptor 4 agonist [4, 5], as demonstrated by its ability to prime the inflammasome for response to activation by calcium crystals.
We thank Oliviero and colleagues for sharing their results and look forward to future studies elucidating the potentially critical role of plasma proteins as extra-vascular damage-associated molecular patterns.
GRECC, VA Palo Alto Health Care System
Division of Immunology and Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine
Bone and Joint Center, VA Palo Alto Health Care System
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University
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