, Volume 65, Issue 1, pp 9-16
Date: 30 Sep 2012

Genetic variation in inflammasome genes is associated with outcome in bacterial meningitis

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Bacterial meningitis is a severe and deadly disease, most commonly caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae. Disease outcome has been related to severity of the inflammatory response in the subarachnoid space. Inflammasomes are intracellular signaling complexes contributing to this inflammatory response. The role of genetic variation in inflammasome genes in bacterial meningitis is largely unknown. In a prospective nationwide cohort of patients with pneumococcal meningitis, we performed a genetic association study and found that single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the inflammasome genes CARD8 (rs2043211) and NLRP1 (rs11621270) are associated with poor disease outcome. Levels of the inflammasome associated cytokines interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-18 in cerebrospinal fluid also correlated with clinical outcome, but were not associated with the CARD8 and NLRP1 polymorphisms. Our results implicate an important role of genetic variation in inflammasome genes in the regulation of inflammatory response and clinical outcome in patients with bacterial meningitis.

M. Geldhoff and B. B. Mook-Kanamori authors contributed equally in preparing this manuscript (shared first authorship).