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.