High incidence of NLRP3 somatic mosaicism in patients with chronic infantile neurologic, cutaneous, articular syndrome: results of an International Multicenter Collaborative Study

Arthritis Rheum. 2011 Nov;63(11):3625-32. doi: 10.1002/art.30512.


Objective: Chronic infantile neurologic, cutaneous, articular (CINCA) syndrome, also known as neonatal-onset multisystem inflammatory disease (NOMID), is a dominantly inherited systemic autoinflammatory disease. Although heterozygous germline gain-of-function NLRP3 mutations are a known cause of this disease, conventional genetic analyses fail to detect disease-causing mutations in ∼40% of patients. Since somatic NLRP3 mosaicism has been detected in several mutation-negative NOMID/CINCA syndrome patients, we undertook this study to determine the precise contribution of somatic NLRP3 mosaicism to the etiology of NOMID/CINCA syndrome.

Methods: An international case-control study was performed to detect somatic NLRP3 mosaicism in NOMID/CINCA syndrome patients who had shown no mutation during conventional sequencing. Subcloning and sequencing of NLRP3 was performed in these mutation-negative NOMID/CINCA syndrome patients and their healthy relatives. Clinical features were analyzed to identify potential genotype-phenotype associations.

Results: Somatic NLRP3 mosaicism was identified in 18 of the 26 patients (69.2%). Estimates of the level of mosaicism ranged from 4.2% to 35.8% (mean ± SD 12.1 ± 7.9%). Mosaicism was not detected in any of the 19 healthy relatives (18 of 26 patients versus 0 of 19 relatives; P < 0.0001). In vitro functional assays indicated that the detected somatic NLRP3 mutations had disease-causing functional effects. No differences in NLRP3 mosaicism were detected between different cell lineages. Among nondescript clinical features, a lower incidence of mental retardation was noted in patients with somatic mosaicism. Genotype-matched comparison confirmed that patients with somatic NLRP3 mosaicism presented with milder neurologic symptoms.

Conclusion: Somatic NLRP3 mutations were identified in 69.2% of patients with mutation-negative NOMID/CINCA syndrome. This indicates that somatic NLRP3 mosaicism is a major cause of NOMID/CINCA syndrome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cryopyrin-Associated Periodic Syndromes / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mosaicism / statistics & numerical data*
  • NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein


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