Natto contains a potent fibrinolytic enzyme called nattokinase (NK), which has thrombolytic, antihypertensive, antiatherosclerotic and lipid-lowering effects. Although NK has been recognized for its beneficial effect on humans with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), the underlying mechanisms involved in vascular inflammation-atherosclerosis development remain largely unknown. The current study aimed to explore the effects of NK on gene regulation, autophagy, necroptosis and inflammasome in vascular inflammation. The transcriptional profiles of NK in endothelial cells (ECs) by RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) revealed that NK affected THBS1, SRF and SREBF1 mRNA expression. In Q-PCR analysis, SRF and THBS1 were upregulated but SREBF1 was unaffected in ECs treated with NK. NK treatment induced autophagy and inhibited NLRP3 inflammasome and necroptosis in ECs. Furthermore, the inhibition of SRF or THBS1 by siRNA suppressed autophagy and enhanced the NLRP3 inflammasome and necroptosis. In a mouse model, NK reduced vascular inflammation by activating autophagy and inhibiting NLRP3 inflammasome and necroptosis. Our findings provide the first evidence that NK upregulates SRF and THBS1 genes, subsequently increasing autophagy and decreasing necroptosis and NLRP3 inflammasome formation to reduce vascular inflammation. Therefore, NK could serve as nutraceuticals or adjuvant therapies to reduce vascular inflammation and possible atherosclerosis progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131779
JournalInternational Journal of Biological Macromolecules
Issue numberPt 2
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Apr 27 2024


  • Autophagy
  • NLRP3 inflammasome
  • Nattokinase
  • Necroptosis
  • Vascular inflammation


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