Polymorphism in a gene coding for the inflammasome component NALP3 and recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis in women with vulvar vestibulitis syndrome

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Mar;200(3):303.e1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2008.10.039.


Objective: Patients with vulvar vestibulitis syndrome (VVS) and control subjects were tested for a polymorphism in the gene coding for the NALP3 component of inflammasomes, cytoplasmic structures regulating interleukin (IL)-1beta production.

Study design: DNA from 143 women with VVS and 182 control women were tested for a length polymorphism in intron 4 of the gene (CIAS1) that codes for NALP3. Vestibular tissue was examined for NALP3 expression. Whole blood cultures were tested for Candida albicans-induced IL-1beta production.

Results: The allele 12 frequency was higher in control subjects than in the patients with VVS (P = .02). Among patients with VVS and a self-reported history of recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis (RVVC), the allele 7 frequency was 43.9% as compared with 30.8% in patients with no history of RVVC and 26.9% in control women (P = .035 vs other patients and .001 vs control subjects). NALP3 was identified in vestibular tissue. C albicans-induced IL-1beta production was reduced in samples from women with the 7,7 genotype (P = .030).

Conclusion: Polymorphism in the CIAS1 gene may play a central role in the triggering of VVS in a subset of patients.

MeSH terms

  • Candidiasis, Vulvovaginal / complications
  • Candidiasis, Vulvovaginal / genetics*
  • Candidiasis, Vulvovaginal / immunology*
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / microbiology
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genotype
  • Homozygote
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1beta / metabolism
  • Introns / genetics
  • NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Recurrence
  • Vulvar Vestibulitis / genetics*
  • Vulvar Vestibulitis / immunology*
  • Vulvar Vestibulitis / microbiology


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein
  • NLRP3 protein, human