Hypomethylation of NLRP3 gene promoter discriminates glucocorticoid-resistant from glucocorticoid-sensitive idiopathic nephrotic syndrome patients

Marianna Lucafò, Simona Granata, Erik J Bonten, Robert McCorkle, Gabriele Stocco, Chiara Caletti, Davide Selvestrel, Alessio Cozzarolo, Chan Zou, Eva Cuzzoni, Andrea Pasini, Giovanni Montini, Giovanni Gambaro, Giuliana Decorti, William Evans, Gianluigi Zaza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

To assess whether NLRP3 gene promoter methylation was able to discriminate glucocorticoid (GC)-resistant from GC-sensitive idiopathic nephrotic syndrome (INS), patients with minimal change disease (MCD) or focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), we measured the methylation level of NLRP3 promoter in DNA from peripheral blood cells of 10 adult patients with GC-resistant FSGS already in hemodialysis and 18 patients with GC-sensitive INS (13 MCD/5 FSGS) and in 21 pediatric patients with INS with MCD/FSGS before starting any treatment. Association of NLRP3 inflammasome with GC resistance was recapitulated in vitro in monocytic cell lines (THP-1 and U937). In both adults and pediatric patients, NLRP3 promoter methylation was significantly reduced in GC-resistant compared with GC-sensitive patients. Indeed, NLRP3 methylation distinguished GC-resistant and GC-sensitive patients (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve [AUROC] 86.7% in adults, p = 0.00019, and 73.5% in children, p = 0.00097). NLRP3 knock-down augmented sensitivity to GCs in THP-1 cells, whereas NLRP3 inflammasome activation lowered GC receptor concentration, increasing GC resistance in U937 cells. Our results uncovered a new biological mechanism by which patients with INS may acquire GC resistance, that could be used in future as a novel noninvasive diagnostic tool.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical and Translational Science
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Dec 31 2020

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