Mevalonate kinase deficiency and neuroinflammation: Balance between apoptosis and pyroptosis

Paola Maura Tricarico, Annalisa Marcuzzi, Elisa Piscianz, Lorenzo Monasta, Sergio Crovella, Giulio Kleiner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Mevalonic aciduria, a rare autosomal recessive disease, represents the most severe form of the periodic fever, known as Mevalonate Kinase Deficiency. This disease is caused by the mutation of the MVK gene, which codes for the enzyme mevalonate kinase, along the cholesterol pathway. Mevalonic aciduria patients show recurrent fever episodes with associated inflammatory symptoms, severe neurologic impairments, or death, in early childhood. The typical neurodegeneration occurring in mevalonic aciduria is linked both to the intrinsic apoptosis pathway (caspase-3 and -9), which is triggered by mitochondrial damage, and to pyroptosis (caspase-1). These cell death mechanisms seem to be also related to the assembly of the inflammasome, which may, in turn, activate pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines. Thus, this particular molecular platform may play a crucial role in neuroinflammation mechanisms. Nowadays, a specific therapy is still lacking and the pathogenic mechanisms involving neuroinflammation and neuronal dysfunction have not yet been completely understood, making mevalonic aciduria an orphan drug disease. This review aims to analyze the relationship among neuroinflammation, mitochondrial damage, programmed cell death, and neurodegeneration. Targeting inflammation and degeneration in the central nervous system might help identify promising treatment approaches for mevalonic aciduria or other diseases in which these mechanisms are involved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23274-23288
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number12
StatePublished - 26 Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Inflammation
  • Mevalonate
  • Neurodegeneration


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