The NLRP3 inflammasome complex is responsible for maturation of the pro-inflammatory cytokine, IL-1β. Mutations in NLRP3 are responsible for the cryopyrinopathies, a spectrum of conditions including neonatal-onset multisystem inflammatory disease (NOMID). While excessive production of IL-1β and systemic inflammation are common to all cryopyrinopathy disorders, skeletal abnormalities, prominently in the knees, and low bone mass are unique features of patients with NOMID. To gain insights into the mechanisms underlying skeletal abnormalities in NOMID, we generated knock-in mice globally expressing the D301N NLRP3 mutation (ortholog of D303N in human NLRP3). NOMID mice exhibit neutrophilia in blood and many tissues, including knee joints, and high levels of serum inflammatory mediators. They also exhibit growth retardation and severe postnatal osteopenia stemming at least in part from abnormally accelerated bone resorption, attended by increased osteoclastogenesis. Histologic analysis of knee joints revealed abnormal growth plates, with loss of chondrocytes and growth arrest in the central region of the epiphyses. Most strikingly, a tissue "spike" was observed in the mid-region of the growth plate in the long bones of all NOMID mice that may be the precursor to more severe deformations analogous to those observed in NOMID patients. These findings provide direct evidence linking a NOMID-associated NLRP3-activating mutation to abnormalities of postnatal skeletal growth and bone remodeling.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere35979
JournalPloS one
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 27 2012


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