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Genetics Home Reference: your guide to understanding genetic conditions
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Familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome

Reviewed September 2008

What is familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome?

Familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome is a condition that causes episodes of fever, skin rash, and joint pain after exposure to cold temperatures. These episodes usually begin in infancy and occur throughout life.

People with this condition usually experience symptoms after cold exposure of an hour or more, although in some individuals only a few minutes of exposure is required. Symptoms may be delayed for up to a few hours after the cold exposure. Episodes last an average of 12 hours, but may continue for up to 3 days.

In people with familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome, the most common symptom that occurs during an episode is an itchy or burning rash. The rash usually begins on the face or extremities and spreads to the rest of the body. Occasionally swelling in the extremities may occur.

In addition to the skin rash, episodes are characterized by fever, chills, and joint pain, most often affecting the hands, knees, and ankles. Redness in the whites of the eye (conjunctivitis), sweating, drowsiness, headache, thirst, and nausea may also occur during an episode of this disorder.

How common is familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome?

Familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome is a very rare condition, believed to have a prevalence of less than 1 per million people.

What genes are related to familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome?

Mutations in the NLRP3 and NLRP12 genes cause familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome. The NLRP3 gene (also known as CIAS1) provides instructions for making a protein called cryopyrin, and the NLRP12 gene provides instructions for making the protein monarch-1.

Cryopyrin and monarch-1 belong to a family of proteins called nucleotide-binding domain and leucine-rich repeat containing (NLR) proteins. These proteins are involved in the immune system, helping to regulate the process of inflammation. Inflammation occurs when the immune system sends signaling molecules and white blood cells to a site of injury or disease to fight microbial invaders and facilitate tissue repair. When this has been accomplished, the body stops (inhibits) the inflammatory response to prevent damage to its own cells and tissues.

Cryopyrin is involved in the assembly of a molecular complex called an inflammasome, which helps start the inflammatory process. Mutations in the NLRP3 gene result in a hyperactive cryopyrin protein that inappropriately triggers an inflammatory response.

Monarch-1 is involved in the inhibition of the inflammatory response. Mutations in the NLRP12 gene appear to reduce the ability of the monarch-1 protein to inhibit inflammation.

Impairment of the body's mechanisms for controlling inflammation results in the episodes of skin rash, fever, and joint pain seen in familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome. It is unclear why episodes are triggered by cold exposure in this disorder.

Related Gene(s)

Changes in these genes are associated with familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome.

  • NLRP12
  • NLRP3

How do people inherit familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome?

This condition is inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern from an affected parent; one copy of the altered gene in each cell is sufficient to cause the disorder.

Where can I find information about diagnosis or management of familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome?

These resources address the diagnosis or management of familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome and may include treatment providers.

  • Genetic Testing Registry: Familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome 2 (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/gtr/conditions/C2673198)
  • Genetic Testing Registry: Familial cold urticaria (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/gtr/conditions/C0343068)

You might also find information on the diagnosis or management of familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome in Educational resources (http://www.ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/familial-cold-autoinflammatory-syndrome/show/Educational+resources) and Patient support (http://www.ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/familial-cold-autoinflammatory-syndrome/show/Patient+support).

General information about the diagnosis (http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/consult/diagnosis) and management (http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/consult/treatment) of genetic conditions is available in the Handbook. Read more about genetic testing (http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/testing), particularly the difference between clinical tests and research tests (http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/testing/researchtesting).

To locate a healthcare provider, see How can I find a genetics professional in my area? (http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/consult/findingprofessional) in the Handbook.

Where can I find additional information about familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome?

You may find the following resources about familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome helpful. These materials are written for the general public.

You may also be interested in these resources, which are designed for healthcare professionals and researchers.

What other names do people use for familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome?

  • cold hypersensitivity
  • familial cold-induced autoinflammatory syndrome
  • familial cold urticaria
  • FCAS
  • FCU

For more information about naming genetic conditions, see the Genetics Home Reference Condition Naming Guidelines (http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/ConditionNameGuide) and How are genetic conditions and genes named? (http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/mutationsanddisorders/naming) in the Handbook.

What if I still have specific questions about familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome?

Ask the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/).

What glossary definitions help with understanding familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome?

autosomal ; autosomal dominant ; cell ; domain ; familial ; fever ; gene ; immune system ; inflammation ; inherited ; injury ; joint ; leucine ; nucleotide ; prevalence ; protein ; symptom ; syndrome ; tissue ; white blood cells

You may find definitions for these and many other terms in the Genetics Home Reference Glossary (http://www.ghr.nlm.nih.gov/glossary).

References

  • Aksentijevich I, D Putnam C, Remmers EF, Mueller JL, Le J, Kolodner RD, Moak Z, Chuang M, Austin F, Goldbach-Mansky R, Hoffman HM, Kastner DL. The clinical continuum of cryopyrinopathies: novel CIAS1 mutations in North American patients and a new cryopyrin model. Arthritis Rheum. 2007 Apr;56(4):1273-85. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17393462?dopt=Abstract)
  • Church LD, Cook GP, McDermott MF. Primer: inflammasomes and interleukin 1beta in inflammatory disorders. Nat Clin Pract Rheumatol. 2008 Jan;4(1):34-42. doi: 10.1038/ncprheum0681. Review. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18172447?dopt=Abstract)
  • Dodé C, Le Dû N, Cuisset L, Letourneur F, Berthelot JM, Vaudour G, Meyrier A, Watts RA, Scott DG, Nicholls A, Granel B, Frances C, Garcier F, Edery P, Boulinguez S, Domergues JP, Delpech M, Grateau G. New mutations of CIAS1 that are responsible for Muckle-Wells syndrome and familial cold urticaria: a novel mutation underlies both syndromes. Am J Hum Genet. 2002 Jun;70(6):1498-506. Epub 2002 Apr 25. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11992256?dopt=Abstract)
  • Farasat S, Aksentijevich I, Toro JR. Autoinflammatory diseases: clinical and genetic advances. Arch Dermatol. 2008 Mar;144(3):392-402. Review. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18347298?dopt=Abstract)
  • Hoffman HM, Gregory SG, Mueller JL, Tresierras M, Broide DH, Wanderer AA, Kolodner RD. Fine structure mapping of CIAS1: identification of an ancestral haplotype and a common FCAS mutation, L353P. Hum Genet. 2003 Feb;112(2):209-16. Epub 2002 Nov 16. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12522564?dopt=Abstract)
  • Hoffman HM, Mueller JL, Broide DH, Wanderer AA, Kolodner RD. Mutation of a new gene encoding a putative pyrin-like protein causes familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome and Muckle-Wells syndrome. Nat Genet. 2001 Nov;29(3):301-5. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11687797?dopt=Abstract)
  • Hoffman HM, Wanderer AA, Broide DH. Familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome: phenotype and genotype of an autosomal dominant periodic fever. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2001 Oct;108(4):615-20. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11590390?dopt=Abstract)
  • Jéru I, Duquesnoy P, Fernandes-Alnemri T, Cochet E, Yu JW, Lackmy-Port-Lis M, Grimprel E, Landman-Parker J, Hentgen V, Marlin S, McElreavey K, Sarkisian T, Grateau G, Alnemri ES, Amselem S. Mutations in NALP12 cause hereditary periodic fever syndromes. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Feb 5;105(5):1614-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0708616105. Epub 2008 Jan 29. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18230725?dopt=Abstract)
  • Kanazawa N, Furukawa F. Autoinflammatory syndromes with a dermatological perspective. J Dermatol. 2007 Sep;34(9):601-18. Review. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17727363?dopt=Abstract)
  • OMIM: FAMILIAL COLD AUTOINFLAMMATORY SYNDROME 1 (http://omim.org/entry/120100)
  • OMIM: FAMILIAL COLD AUTOINFLAMMATORY SYNDROME 2 (http://omim.org/entry/611762)
  • Stankovic K, Grateau G. Auto inflammatory syndromes: Diagnosis and treatment. Joint Bone Spine. 2007 Dec;74(6):544-50. Epub 2007 Sep 20. Review. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17950649?dopt=Abstract)
  • Tunca M, Ozdogan H. Molecular and genetic characteristics of hereditary autoinflammatory diseases. Curr Drug Targets Inflamm Allergy. 2005 Feb;4(1):77-80. Review. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15720239?dopt=Abstract)

 

The resources on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Users seeking information about a personal genetic disease, syndrome, or condition should consult with a qualified healthcare professional. See How can I find a genetics professional in my area? (http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/consult/findingprofessional) in the Handbook.

 
Reviewed: September 2008
Published: August 18, 2014