Background: Cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes (CAPS) consist of a continuum of autoinflammatory diseases caused by a defect in interleukin 1β regulation. Although symptoms may vary widely, the discovery, in 2001, of the gene involved (NLRP3) has dramatically helped diagnosis.
Objectives: To define the spectrum and prevalence of NLRP3 mutations in France and to delineate initial criteria before molecular analysis.
Methods: Retrospective review (2001-9) of genetic analysis data and request forms of patients living in France with an NLRP3 mutation since the set up of CAPS molecular diagnosis by the three French laboratories providing this test (GenMAI network).
Results: Over 800 analyses of this gene have been conducted, identifying 135 cases with an NLRP3 mutation (55 probands; 33 multiplex families); the estimated prevalence in France was equal to 1/360 000. A total of 21 different sequence variants were detected, among which four are common and nine are new mutations.
Conclusions: Although the number of NLRP3 test requests has doubled over the past 5 years, genetic screening has not contributed to enhanced detection of new index cases each year. There are two possible reasons for this: (i) no clinical prerequisite for genetic diagnosis and (ii) few new large families are now identified (unlike the initial study based on a selection by linkage). A set of initial clinical criteria have been drawn up which it is recommended should be fulfilled before a patient is tested: at least three recurrent bouts, age at disease onset < 20 years and elevated levels of C-reactive protein, especially in individuals with urticaria and moderate fever.