Background Recent evidence has highlighted a potential role of interleukin 1β (IL-1β) in systemic sclerosis (SSc). NLRP1 provides a scaffold for the assembly of the inflammasome that promotes the processing and maturation of pro-IL-1β. In addition, NLRP1 variants were found to confer susceptibility to autoimmune disorders.
Objective To study a possible association of the NLRP1 rs6502867, rs2670660 and rs8182352, rs12150220 and rs4790797 with SSc in the European Caucasian population.
Methods NLRP1 single nucleotide polymorphisms were genotyped in 3227 individuals comprising a discovery set (870 SSc patients and 962 controls) and a replication set including individuals from Germany (532 SSc patients and 324 controls) and Italy (527 SSc patients and 301 controls), all individuals being of European Caucasian origin.
Results Conditional analyses revealed a significant association for the NLRP1 rs8182352 variant with both anti-topoisomerase-positive and SSc-related fibrosing alveolitis (FA) subsets under an additive model: p=0.0042, OR 1.23 (95% CI 1.07 to 1.41) and p=0.0065 OR 1.19 (95% CI 1.05 to 1.36), respectively. Logistic regression analysis showed an additive effect of IRF5 rs2004640, STAT4 rs7574865 and NLRP1 rs8182352 risk alleles on SSc-related FA.
Conclusions Our results establish NLRP1 as a new genetic susceptibility factor for SSc-related pulmonary fibrosis and anti-topoisomerase-positive SSc phenotypes. This provides new insights into the pathogenesis of SSc, underlining the potential role of innate immunity in particular in the FA-positive SSc subphenotype, which represents a severe subset of the disease.
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