Genetic polymorphism in an inflammasome component, cervical mycoplasma detection and female infertility in women undergoing in vitro fertilization
The inflammasome is an inducible cytoplasmic structure that is responsible for production and release of biologically active interleukin-1 (IL-1). A polymorphism in the inflammasome component NALP3 has been associated with decreased IL-1 levels and increased occurrence of vaginal Candida infection. We hypothesized that this polymorphism-induced variation would influence susceptibility to infertility. DNA was obtained from 243 women who were undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) and tested for a length polymorphism in intron 2 of the gene coding for NALP3 (gene symbol CIAS1). At the conclusion of testing the findings were analyzed in relation to clinical parameters and IVF outcome. The frequency of the 12unit repeat allele, associated with maximal inflammasome activity, was 62.3% in cases of female infertility vs. 75.6% in cases where only the male partner had a detectable fertility problem (p=0.0095). Conversely, the frequency of the 7unit repeat allele was 28.9% in those with a female fertility problem, 17.0% in women with infertile males and 18.4% in idiopathic infertility (p=0.0124). Among the women who were cervical culture-positive for mycoplasma the frequency of the 7unit repeat was 53.7% as opposed to 19.5% in those negative for this infection (p<0.0001). We conclude that the CIAS1 7unit repeat polymorphism increases the likelihood of mycoplasma infection-associated female infertility.