BACKGROUND: Autoinflammatory diseases manifest inflammation without evidence of infection, high-titer autoantibodies, or autoreactive T cells. We report a disorder caused by mutations of IL1RN, which encodes the interleukin-1-receptor antagonist, with prominent involvement of skin and bone. METHODS: We studied nine children from six families who had neonatal onset of sterile multifocal osteomyelitis, periostitis, and pustulosis. Response to empirical treatment with the recombinant interleukin-1-receptor antagonist anakinra in the first patient prompted us to test for the presence of mutations and changes in proteins and their function in interleukin-1-pathway genes including IL1RN. RESULTS: We identified homozygous mutations of IL1RN in nine affected children, from one family from Newfoundland, Canada, three families from the Netherlands, and one consanguineous family from Lebanon. A nonconsanguineous patient from Puerto Rico was homozygous for a genomic deletion that includes IL1RN and five other interleukin-1-family members. At least three of the mutations are founder mutations; heterozygous carriers were asymptomatic, with no cytokine abnormalities in vitro. The IL1RN mutations resulted in a truncated protein that is not secreted, thereby rendering cells hyperresponsive to interleukin-1β stimulation. Patients treated with anakinra responded rapidly. CONCLUSIONS: We propose the term deficiency of the interleukin-1-receptor antagonist, or DIRA, to denote this autosomal recessive autoinflammatory disease caused by mutations affecting IL1RN. The absence of interleukin-1-receptor antagonist allows unopposed action of interleukin-1, resulting in life-threatening systemic inflammation with skin and bone involvement. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00059748.).
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