Author(s): GmezPuerta JA, Bosch X
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Abstract Vasculitides associated with serum positivity for anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCAs) that affect small- to medium-sized vessels are commonly known as ANCA-associated vasculitis (AAV) and include Wegener's granulomatosis, microscopic polyangiitis, and Churg-Strauss syndrome. Evidence derived from both in vitro studies and recent animal models points to a pathogenic role of ANCAs in AAV. In 2002, the first in vivo breakthrough in the pathogenesis of ANCAs showed that mouse ANCAs against myeloperoxidase (MPO) led to intrinsic pauci-immune renal vasculitis in mice. In 2004, a report using both in vitro and in vivo studies proposed that proteinase 3 (PR3)-directed autoimmunity involved the complementary peptide of PR3 (cPR3), which is encoded by the antisense strand of the PR3 gene. The last breakthrough came in October 2008 with a previously undescribed molecular explanation for the origin and development of injury in pauci-immune renal vasculitis, with potential clinical implications. This report showed that infection by fimbriated bacteria may trigger cross-reactive autoimmunity to a previously characterized ANCA antigen, lysosomal membrane protein-2, which is contained in the same vesicles that harbor MPO and PR3. Infection by fimbriated bacteria resulted in the production of autoantibodies, which activated neutrophils and killed human microvascular endothelium in vitro and caused renal vasculitis in rats. Although the evidence for a pathogenic role of ANCAs, mainly MPO-ANCAs, is striking, various questions remain unanswered. Understanding the key pathogenic mechanisms of AAV may provide a safer, more rational therapeutic approach than the traditional (ie, corticosteroids and immunosuppressants) treatment strategy.
This article was published in Am J Pathol
and referenced in Journal of Medical Diagnostic Methods