STUDY QUESTION: Are mutations in NLRP2/7 (NACHT, LRR and PYD domains-containing protein 2/7) or KHDC3L (KH Domain Containing 3 Like) associated with recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) or infertility?
SUMMARY ANSWER: We found no evidence for mutations in NLRP2/7 or KHDC3L in unexplained RPL or infertility.
WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: Mutations in NLRP7 and KHDC3L are known to cause biparental hydatidiform moles (BiHMs), a rare form of pregnancy loss. NLRP2, while not associated with the BiHM pathology, is known to cause recurrent Beckwith Weidemann Syndrome (BWS).
STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, AND DURATION: Ninety-four patients with well characterized, unexplained infertility were recruited over a 9-year period from three IVF clinics in Sweden. Blood samples from 24 patients with 3 or more consecutive miscarriages of unknown etiology were provided by the Recurrent Miscarriage Clinic at St Mary's Hospital, London, UK.
PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: Patients were recruited into both cohorts following extensive clinical studies. Genomic DNA was isolated from peripheral blood and subject to Sanger sequencing of NLRP2, NLRP7 and KHDC3L. Sequence electropherograms were analyzed by Sequencher v5.0 software and variants compared with those observed in the 1000 Genomes, single nucleotide polymorphism database (dbSNP) and HapMap databases. Functional effects of non-synonymous variants were predicted using Polyphen-2 and sorting intolerant from tolerant (SIFT).
MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: No disease-causing mutations were identified in NLRP2, NLRP7 and KHDC3L in our cohorts of unexplained infertility and RPL.
LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: Due to the limited patient size, it is difficult to conclude if the low frequency single nucleotide polymorphisms observed in the present study are causative of the phenotype. The design of the present study therefore is only capable of detecting highly penetrant mutations.
WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: The present study supports the hypothesis that mutations in NLRP7 and KHDC3L are specific for the BiHM phenotype and do not play a role in other adverse reproductive outcomes. Furthermore, to date, mutations in NLRP2 have only been associated with the imprinting disorder BWS in offspring and there is no evidence for a role in molar pregnancies, RPL or unexplained infertility.
STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTERESTS: This study was funded by the following sources: Estonian Ministry of Education and Research (Grant SF0180044s09), Enterprise Estonia (Grant EU30020); Mentored Resident research project (Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Baylor College of Medicine); Imperial NIHR Biomedical Research Centre; Grant Number C06RR029965 from the National Center for Research Resources (NCCR; NIH). No competing interests declared.