Activation of the NOD-like receptor pyrin-domain containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome is associated with chronic low-grade inflammation in metabolic diseases such as obesity. Mechanistic studies have shown that β-hydroxybutyrate (OHB) attenuates activation of NLRP3, but human data are limited. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial (n
= 11) we tested the hypothesis that acutely raising β-OHB by ingestion of exogenous ketones would attenuate NLRP3 activation in humans with obesity. Blood was sampled before and 30 min post-ingestion of a ketone monoester drink ((R)-3-hydroxybutyl (R)-3-hydroxybutyrate, 482 mg/kg body mass) or placebo. A 75 g oral glucose load was then ingested, and a third blood sample was obtained 60 min following glucose ingestion. NLRP3 activation was quantified by assessing monocyte caspase-1 activation and interleukin (IL)-1β secretion in ex vivo lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated whole-blood cultures. LPS-stimulated caspase-1 activation increased following glucose ingestion (main effect of time; p
= 0.032), with no differences between conditions. IL-1β secretion did not differ between conditions but was lower 60 min post-glucose ingestion compared to the fasting baseline (main effect of time, p
= 0.014). Plasma IL-1β was detectable in ~80% of samples and showed a decrease from fasting baseline to 60 min in the ketone condition only (condition × time interaction, p
= 0.01). In individuals with obesity, an excursion into hyperglycemia following ingestion of a glucose load augments LPS-induced activation of caspase-1 in monocytes with no apparent impact of raising circulating β-OHB concentration via ingestion of exogenous ketones. Exogenous ketone supplementation may impact plasma IL-1β, but these findings require confirmation in studies with larger sample sizes.
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