NLRP7 mutations in women with diploid androgenetic and triploid moles: a proposed mechanism for mole formation

Hum Mol Genet. 2009 Mar 1;18(5):888-97. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddn418. Epub 2008 Dec 9.


Hydatidiform mole is an aberrant pregnancy with abnormal embryonic development and hydropic placental villi. Common moles are sporadic, not recurrent and affect one in every 1500 pregnancies in Western societies. Approximately, half of common moles are complete and mostly diploid androgenetic, whereas the remaining are partial and mostly triploid diandric. NLRP7 has been found to be responsible for a recurrent form of molar pregnancies. Recently, we showed that patients with NLRP7 mutations have an impaired inflammatory response to various stimuli. To date, molar tissues analyzed from patients with NLRP7 mutations have been found to be diploid and biparental. In this study, we report 10 new non-synonymous variants and one stop codon found in patients and not in controls. We demonstrate the presence of different types of moles, diploid biparental, diploid androgenetic, triploid and tetraploid conceptions, in patients with NLRP7 variants. We document in vitro and in vivo early embryo cleavage abnormalities in three patients. We propose a two-hit mechanism at the origin of androgenetic moles. This mechanism consists of variable degrees of early embryo cleavage abnormalities leading to chaotic mosaic aneuploidies, with haploid, diploid, triploid and tetraploid blastomeres. Surviving embryonic cells that reach implantation are then subject to the maternal immune response. Because of the patients' impaired inflammatory response, androgenetic cells, which are complete allograft, are able to grow and proliferate. In women with normal immune system, chaotic mosaic aneuploidies may also occur during early cleavage, however, androgenetic cells would die after implantation or stay undetected, confined to a small portion of the placenta.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / genetics*
  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / metabolism
  • Diploidy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydatidiform Mole / genetics*
  • Hydatidiform Mole / metabolism
  • Mutation*
  • Polyploidy*
  • Pregnancy


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • NLRP7 protein, human