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Abstract

Objective

The NALP3 inflammasome is a multiprotein complex that triggers caspase 1–mediated interleukin-1β (IL-1β) release. Mutations in the gene encoding NALP3 (NLRP3) underlie the cryopyrin-associated periodic syndrome (CAPS). The aim of this study was to report a novel NLRP3 mutation in 2 siblings of Swedish descent in whom symptoms first presented in adulthood.

Methods

Mutation analysis of NLRP3 was performed on DNA from patients with CAPS and 100 control subjects. For assessment of caspase 1 and IL-1β, blood was collected from patients and age- and sex-matched healthy control subjects. Genetic constructs containing mutant or wild-type NLRP3 were transduced into THP-1 cells, followed by assessment of IL-1β levels in cell supernatant.

Results

Both siblings carried a novel M299V mutation in NLRP3, which was not present in the control population. The samples obtained from the patients displayed increased caspase 1 activity and elevated IL-1β levels at basal conditions as compared with healthy control subjects. THP-1 cells expressing mutated M299V revealed almost 10-fold higher IL-1β production compared with the wild-type construct.

Conclusion

M299V is an activating mutation in NLRP3 resulting in elevated spontaneous caspase 1 activity and IL-1β levels. The classic CAPS phenotype was lacking in these adult siblings. Whereas one sibling displayed a milder phenotype that has so far responded satisfactorily to oral nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs in combination with low-dose corticosteroids, the inflammatory symptoms in the sibling with the more severe case responded well to IL-1β blockade. Understanding the pathogenic mechanism underlying such disorders can be helpful for the physician. Our study reinforces the importance of genetic testing and laboratory investigations in combination with careful phenotypic evaluation for the diagnosis of such patients.