Lipid Peroxidation Drives Gasdermin D-Mediated Pyroptosis in Lethal Polymicrobial Sepsis

Rui Kang, Ling Zeng, Shan Zhu, Yangchun Xie, Jiao Liu, Qirong Wen, Lizhi Cao, Min Xie, Qitao Ran, Guido Kroemer, Haichao Wang, Timothy R. Billiar, Jianxin Jiang*, Daolin Tang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

385 Scopus citations


Sepsis is a life-threatening condition caused by pathogen infection and associated with pyroptosis. Pyroptosis occurs upon activation of proinflammatory caspases and their subsequent cleavage of gasdermin D (GSDMD), resulting in GSDMD N-terminal fragments that form membrane pores to induce cell lysis. Here, we show that antioxidant defense enzyme glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPX4) and its ability to decrease lipid peroxidation, negatively regulate macrophage pyroptosis, and septic lethality in mice. Conditional Gpx4 knockout in myeloid lineage cells increases lipid peroxidation-dependent caspase-11 activation and GSDMD cleavage. The resultant N-terminal GSDMD fragments then trigger macrophage pyroptotic cell death in a phospholipase C gamma 1 (PLCG1)-dependent fashion. Administration of the antioxidant vitamin E that reduces lipid peroxidation, chemical inhibition of PLCG1, or genetic Caspase-11 deletion or Gsdmd inactivation prevents polymicrobial sepsis in Gpx4−/− mice. Collectively, this study suggests that lipid peroxidation drives GSDMD-mediated pyroptosis and hence constitutes a potential therapeutic target for lethal infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-108.e4
JournalCell Host and Microbe
Issue number1
StatePublished - 11 Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • GPX4
  • caspase-11
  • ferroptosis
  • immunometabolism
  • inflammasome
  • lipid peroxidation
  • pyroptosis
  • sepsis


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