Genetic association study of NLRP1, CARD, and CASP1 inflammasome genes with chronic Chagas cardiomyopathy among Trypanosoma cruzi seropositive patients in Bolivia


About 20–30% of people infected with Chagas disease present with chronic Chagas cardiomyopathy (CCC), the most serious and frequent manifestation of the disease, while others remain asymptomatic and often do not experience Chagas-specific mortality. It is not currently well understood what causes these differential disease outcomes, but a genetic predisposition within the host could play an important role. This study examined variants in the NLRP1, CARD, and CASP1 inflammasome genes among 62 T. cruzi seropositive patients from Bolivia (38 cases with CCC and 24 asymptomatic controls) to uncover associations with CCC. All subjects underwent a complete medical examination including electrocardiogram (EKG) and echocardiogram. After genotype calling and quality control filtering with exclusion of 3 cases and 3 controls, association analysis was performed across 76 directly genotyped SNPs in NLRP1, CARD, and CASP1 genes, adjusting for age, sex, and population stratification. One SNP (rs11651270; Bonferroni-corrected p = 0.036) corresponding to a missense mutation in NLPR1 was found to be significant after adjustment for multiple testing, and a suggestive association was seen in CARD11 (rs6953573; Bonferroni-corrected p = 0.060). Although limited by sample size, the study results suggest variations in the inflammasome, particularly in NLRP1 and CARD11, may be associated with CCC.

PLoS One