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Research projects

Gene variants of the NLRP3 inflammasome in Neisseria meningitidis-induced severe infection

About this project

Project information

Project status

In progress


Eva Särndahl

Research subject

This project investigates how the host-microbe interplay determines why some individuals develop a severe, sometimes fatal, inflammatory response in reaction to Neisseria meningitidis infections, whereas others are only mildly affected by the same bacterial strain. Our hypothesis is that the NLRP3 inflammasome, a regulator of innate immune surveillance, play an essential role during development of severe infectious diseases. N. meningitidis is a bacterium causing severe infections, like sepsis and meningitis; infections that are found worldwide, but some areas are more affected than others. Ethiopia is located in the “African meningitis belt”, and countries located in this area can have 20 000-30 000 suspected cases within a few weeks following an outbreak. The infection has an extremely fast progression and can be fatal within the first 24h. The estimated case-fatality rate is 5-40 %, and children are often the victims.

  • Our study is designed to find out if gene variants in the NLRP3 inflammasome play a role in the inter-individual differences of disease progression seen in N. meningitidis infected patients.
  • This is a collaborative project between Swedish, Norwegian and Ethiopian scientists


  • Abraham Aseffa, AHRI, Etiopien
  • Anne Kelly, KS
  • Ebba Abate, Gondar University, Etiopien
  • Hans Fredlund, Region Örebro län
  • Maria Lerm, Linköpings universitet