Background: Inflammation is central in development of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Aberrant function of the Nod-Like Receptor Protein 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome, a central mediator in the proinflammatory response, has been associated with atherosclerosis. The influence of genetic determinants on this inflammatory pathway and its downstream effects is less known. We aimed to investigate the frequency of a single NLRP3 gene variant according to clinical outcome in CVD and its influence on NLRP3-related markers.
Methods: In this observational study, we included 1001 patients with chronic coronary syndrome. Blood samples were drawn at inclusion, including whole-blood and PAXgene tubes for DNA and RNA isolation, respectively. Allelic discrimination of the NLRP3 single nucleotide polymorphism rs10754555 was performed; and gene expression of NLRP3, Toll-Like Receptor 4, Interleukin- (IL-) 1β, and IL-18 was relatively quantified, both methods by RT-PCR. Circulating IL-6, high-sensitivity (hs) C-reactive protein, IL-18, and IL-12 were measured by enzyme-like immunosorbent assays. Clinical endpoints during 2 years (n = 106) were a composite of unstable angina pectoris, myocardial infarction, nonhemorrhagic stroke, and death.
Results: Minor allele frequency of the NLRP3 variant was 0.36. In all, no association of the NLRP3 variant with clinical subgroups or outcome was found, neither any significant influence on the genes' mRNA expression or circulating protein. However, in subjects < 56 years (25 percentile), the variant G-allele is associated with significant lower risk of suffering a composite event (OR = 0.43 (95% CI 0.19, 0.97), p = 0.043, adjusted). In the same age group, the NLRP3 gene was accordingly downregulated in G-allele carriers vs. noncarriers, and circulating IL12 was significantly reduced (p < 0.05, both). In subjects > 56 years, no significant effect of the variant was observed.
Conclusion: The age-related reduced risk of composite endpoint in rs10754555 G-allele carriers accompanied by diminished NLRP3 mRNA expression is hypothesis generating and needs to be further explored. The study is registered at http://www.clinicaltrials.gov, with identification number NCT00222261.
Copyright © 2022 Trine B. Opstad et al.