NLRP1 haplotypes associated with leprosy in Brazilian patients.
Polymorphisms in innate immunity genes are known to be involved in the multifactorial susceptibility to Mycobacterium leprae infection. M. leprae can downregulate IL-1β secretion escaping monocyte digestion. The intracellular receptors NLRPs (NACHT, LRR and PYD domains-containing proteins) sense pathogen associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) activating caspase-1 and IL-1β secretion in the context of inflammasome. Considering the possible role of inflammasome in the immune response against M. leprae, known single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in two NLRP genes, NLRP1 and NLRP3, were analyzed in Brazilian leprosy patients. Disease-associated SNPs (5 in NLRP1 and 2 in NLRP3), previously associated to infections and to immunologic disorders, were genotyped in 467 leprosy patients (327 multibacillary, MB; 96 paucibacillary, PB) and in 380 healthy controls (HC) from the state of Sao Paulo (Brazil), and in 183 patients (147MB; 64PB) and 186 HC from Mato Grosso (Brazil). Logistic regression analysis was performed considering susceptibility to leprosy di per se (leprosy versus HC) and clinical form (MB versus PB), adjusting for gender and ethnicity. Whereas none of the considered SNPs were statistically associated with leprosy, the NLRP1 combined haplotype rs2137722/G-rs12150220/T-rs2670660/G resulted significantly more frequent in patients than in HC as well as in PB than in MB. While both associations were lost after correction for gender and ethnicity, the NLRP1 combined haplotype rs2137722/G-rs12150220/A-rs2670660/G resulted strongly associated to PB. NLRP1 might be involved in the susceptibility to leprosy with particular emphasis for PB clinical form. Although preliminary, this is the first report linking NLRPs and inflammasome with leprosy: replication studies as well as functional assays are envisaged to deeper investigate the role of NLRP1 in M. leprae infection. Interestingly, NLRP1 SNPs were previously associated to susceptibility to Crohn disease, suggesting that NLRP1 could be a new modifier gene in common between leprosy and Crohn disease.