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1.  Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies induce monocyte IL-8 release. Role of surface proteinase-3, alpha1-antitrypsin, and Fcgamma receptors. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1997;100(6):1416-1424.
Cytoplasmic antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (cANCA) that accompany the neutrophilic vasculitis seen in Wegener's granulomatosis (WG), are directed against proteinase-3 (PR-3), a serine proteinase which is located in azurophilic granules of neutrophils and monocytes. PR-3, when expressed on the surface of TNFalpha-primed neutrophils, can directly activate neutrophils by complexing cANCA and promoting concomitant Fcgamma receptor (FcgammaR) cross-linking. Although the neutrophil's pathogenic role in WG has been studied, the role of the monocyte has not been explored. The monocyte, with its ability to release cytokines and regulate neutrophil influx, also expresses PR-3. Therefore, the monocyte may play a significant role in WG via the interaction of surface PR-3 with cANCA, inducing cytokine release by the monocyte. To test this hypothesis, monocytes were studied for PR-3 expression and for IL-8 release in response to cANCA IgG. PBMC obtained from healthy donors displayed dramatic surface PR-3 expression as detected by immunohistochemistry and flow cytometry in response to 0. 5-h pulse with TNFalpha (2 ng/ml). Purified monoclonal anti-PR-3 IgG added to TNFalpha-primed PBMC induced 45-fold more IL-8 release than an isotype control antibody. Furthermore, alpha 1-antitrypsin (alpha1-AT), the primary PR-3 antiprotease, inhibited the anti-PR-3 induced IL-8 release by 80%. Importantly, Fab and F(ab')2 fragments of anti-PR-3 IgG, which do not result in Fcgamma receptor cross-linking, do not induce IL-8 release. As a correlate, IgG isolated from cANCA positive patients with WG induced six times as much PBMC IL-8 release as compared to IgG isolated from normal healthy volunteers. Consistent with PR-3 associated IL-8 induction, alpha1-AT significantly inhibited this effect. These observations suggest that cANCA may recruit and target neutrophils through promoting monocyte IL-8 release. This induction is mediated via Fcgamma receptor cross-linking and is regulated in part by alpha1-AT.
PMCID: PMC508320  PMID: 9294107
2.  Genetically Distinct Subsets within ANCA-Associated Vasculitis 
The New England journal of medicine  2012;367(3):214-223.
BACKGROUND
Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)–associated vasculitis is a severe condition encompassing two major syndromes: granulomatosis with polyangiitis (formerly known as Wegener’s granulomatosis) and microscopic polyangiitis. Its cause is unknown, and there is debate about whether it is a single disease entity and what role ANCA plays in its pathogenesis. We investigated its genetic basis.
METHODS
A genomewide association study was performed in a discovery cohort of 1233 U.K. patients with ANCA-associated vasculitis and 5884 controls and was replicated in 1454 Northern European case patients and 1666 controls. Quality control, population stratification, and statistical analyses were performed according to standard criteria.
RESULTS
We found both major-histocompatibility-complex (MHC) and non-MHC associations with ANCA-associated vasculitis and also that granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangiitis were genetically distinct. The strongest genetic associations were with the antigenic specificity of ANCA, not with the clinical syndrome. Anti–proteinase 3 ANCA was associated with HLA-DP and the genes encoding α1-antitrypsin (SERPINA1) and proteinase 3 (PRTN3) (P = 6.2×10−89, P = 5.6×10−12, and P = 2.6×10−7, respectively). Anti–myeloperoxidase ANCA was associated with HLA-DQ (P = 2.1×10−8).
CONCLUSIONS
This study confirms that the pathogenesis of ANCA-associated vasculitis has a genetic component, shows genetic distinctions between granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangiitis that are associated with ANCA specificity, and suggests that the response against the autoantigen proteinase 3 is a central pathogenic feature of proteinase 3 ANCA–associated vasculitis. These data provide preliminary support for the concept that proteinase 3 ANCA–associated vasculitis and myeloperoxidase ANCA–associated vasculitis are distinct autoimmune syndromes. (Funded by the British Heart Foundation and others.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1108735
PMCID: PMC3773907  PMID: 22808956
3.  Clinical spectrum associated with positive ANCA titres in 94 consecutive patients: is there a relation with PR-3 negative c-ANCA and hypergammaglobulinaemia ? 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  1998;57(3):141-145.
OBJECTIVE—To calculate the positive predictive value (ppv) of cytoplasmic anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (c-ANCAs) and anti-proteinase 3 (PR 3) antibodies for Wegener's granulomatosis (WG) and to evaluate their association with other diseases.
METHODS—The clinical files of all 94 patients who had a positive c- or perinuclear (p)-ANCA test, or both, in the laboratory of the University Hospital, Leuven between April 1995 and March 1996 and who attended the Internal Medicine Department of the hospital were retrospectively studied.
RESULTS—Of the 94 patients with ANCAs (fluorescence titre ⩾ 1/40), 57 were c-ANCA positive and 45 p-ANCA positive (eight were simultaneously c- and p-ANCA positive). Of the 57 c-ANCA positive patients, 23 had WG. The ppv for WG thus was 40%. This value did not increase by defining a higher threshold for a positive ANCA. There was not a good relation between ANCA titres and disease activity in the WG patients, nor was there a relation between anti-PR 3 antibody levels and WG disease activity. The ppv of anti-PR 3 antibodies for WG however was very high (85%). There was a positive correlation between the level of (hyper) gammaglobulinaemia and c-ANCA titres in those patients with final diagnoses not known to be associated with c-ANCA. Forty five patients had positive p-ANCAs. The largest group were those with inflammatory bowel disease (n = 20, of whom the majority had colitis ulcerosa or primary sclerosing cholangitis, or both); the great majority of these patients had no anti-myeloperoxidase antibodies. Vasculitis was present in eight patients, of whom two had WG (both were also c-ANCA positive).
CONCLUSION—There is a low ppv of c-ANCAs for WG, caused by a high percentage of PR 3 negative, positive c-ANCA determinations, possibly related to hypergammaglobulinaemia. Anti-PR 3 antibodies have a high ppv for WG. However, neither c-ANCA titre, nor the level of anti-PR 3 antibodies correlated with the activity of the disease.

 Keywords: antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies; vasculitis; Wegener's granulomatosis; hypergammaglobulinaemia
PMCID: PMC1752552  PMID: 9640128
4.  Pathophysiology of ANCA-Associated Small Vessel Vasculitis 
Current Rheumatology Reports  2010;12(6):399-405.
Antineutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies (ANCAs) directed to proteinase 3 (PR3-ANCA) or myeloperoxidase (MPO-ANCA) are strongly associated with the ANCA-associated vasculitides—Wegener’s granulomatosis, microscopic polyangiitis, and Churg-Strauss syndrome. Clinical observations, including the efficacy of B-cell depletion via rituximab treatment, support—but do not prove—a pathogenic role for ANCA in the ANCA-associated vasculitides. In vitro experimental studies show that the interplay of ANCA, neutrophils, the alternative pathway of the complement system, and endothelial cells could result in lysis of the endothelium. A pathogenic role for MPO-ANCA is strongly supported by in vivo experimental studies in mice and rats, which also elucidate the pathogenic mechanisms involved in lesion development. Unfortunately, an animal model for PR3-ANCA–associated Wegener’s granulomatosis is not yet available. Here, cellular immunity appears to play a major role as well, particularly via interleukin-17–producing T cells, in line with granulomatous inflammation in the lesions. Finally, microbial factors, in particular Staphylococcus aureus and gram-negative bacteria, seem to be involved in disease induction and expression, but further studies are needed to define their precise role in disease development.
doi:10.1007/s11926-010-0138-6
PMCID: PMC2949563  PMID: 20878509
Wegener’s granulomatosis; MPO-ANCA; Microscopic polyangiitis; hLAMP-2 autoantibodies; Churg-Strauss syndrome; Staphylococcus aureus; Necrotizing crescentic glomerulonephritis; FimH; ANCA-associated vasculitis; Animal models; Antineutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies; Th17 cells; ANCA; T-regulatory cells; Proteinase 3; PR3-ANCA; Myeloperoxidase
5.  PR3-ANCA in Wegener's granulomatosis prime human mononuclear cells for enhanced activation via TLRs and NOD1/2 
Diagnostic Pathology  2009;4:23.
Background
Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) is autoantibodies characteristic of vasculitis diseases. A connection between ANCA and Wegener's granulomatosis was well established. The interaction of both ANCA phenotypes (PR3-ANCA and MPO-ANCA) with leukocytes provoked cell activation, which might be involved in the pathogenesis of ANCA-related Wegener's granulomatosis.
Methods
In this study, we examined whether PR3-ANCA sera and purified immunoglobulins from patients with Wegener's granulomatosis prime human monocytic cells for enhanced responses to microbial components in terms of production of proinflammatory cytokines.
Results
Flow cytometry demonstrated that stimulation with antibodies to proteinase 3 enhanced the expression of TLR2, 3, 4, 7, and 9, NOD1, and NOD2 in human mononuclear cells. The sera and purified immunoglobulins significantly primed human mononuclear cells to secrete interleukin-8 in response to microbial components via TLRs and NODs. Priming effects were also observed for the production of interleukin-6, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, and tumor necrosis factor-α. On the other hand, PR3-ANCA-negative sera from patients with polyarteritis nodosa which possibly related to MPO-ANCA and aortitis syndrome as well as control sera from a healthy volunteer did not have any priming effects on PBMCs.
Conclusion
In conclusion, PR3-ANCA prime human mononuclear cells to produce cytokines upon stimulation with various microbial components by up-regulating the TLR and NOD signaling pathway, and these mechanisms may partially participate in the inflammatory process in Wegener's granulomatosis.
doi:10.1186/1746-1596-4-23
PMCID: PMC2717921  PMID: 19594951
6.  Vasculitis-like hemorrhagic retinal angiopathy in Wegener’s granulomatosis 
BMC Research Notes  2013;6:364.
Background
Granulomatosis with polyangiitis, also known as Wegener’s granulomatosis, is a chronic systemic inflammatory disease that can also involve the eyes. We report a case of massive retinal and preretinal hemorrhages with perivascular changes as the initial signs in granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener’s granulomatosis).
Case presentation
A 39-year-old Caucasian male presented with blurred vision in his right eye, myalgia and arthralgia, recurrent nose bleeds and anosmia. Fundus image of his right eye showed massive retinal hemorrhages and vasculitis-like angiopathy, although no fluorescein extravasation was present in fluorescein angiography. Laboratory investigations revealed an inflammation with increased C-reactive protein, elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate and neutrophil count. Tests for antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) were positive for c-ANCA (cytoplasmatic ANCA) and PR3-ANCA (proteinase 3-ANCA). Renal biopsy demonstrated a focal segmental necrotizing glomerulonephritis. Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener’s granulomatosis) was diagnosed and a combined systemic therapy of cyclophosphamide and corticosteroids was initiated. During 3 months of follow-up, complete resorption of retinal hemorrhages was seen and general complaints as well as visual acuity improved during therapy.
Conclusion
Vasculitis-like retinal changes can occur in Wegener’s granulomatosis. Despite massive retinal and preretinal hemorrhages that cause visual impairment, immunosuppressive therapy can improve ocular symptoms.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-6-364
PMCID: PMC3846657  PMID: 24021028
Granulomatosis with polyangiitis; Wegener’s granulomatosis; Retinal vasculitis; Hemorrhages; Cyclophosphamide
7.  Clinical relevance of testing for antineutrophil cytoplasm antibodies (ANCA) with a standard indirect immunofluorescence ANCA test in patients with upper or lower respiratory tract symptoms. 
Thorax  1994;49(3):213-217.
BACKGROUND--Reports from specialist nephrological centres have suggested that the antineutrophil cytoplasm antibody (ANCA) test is highly specific and sensitive for patients with Wegener's granulomatosis. To determine the usefulness of the ANCA test in everyday respiratory practice the results of the test were audited in all patients in the south west of England with respiratory symptoms who underwent the test. METHODS--The results of all 335 patients who had presented with upper or lower respiratory tracts symptoms, or both, and were tested for ANCA by the indirect ANCA test in 1990, as recommended in the broadsheet of the British Association of Clinical Pathologists, were audited. Case notes and necropsy reports were available for review in 231 cases (69%), and in the remainder information was obtained by a standard questionnaire. RESULTS--There were 106 positive results, 45 (44%) from patients with Wegener's granulomatosis. The sensitivity and specificity of a positive ANCA test result in this study were 65% and 77% respectively. For a diagnosis of Wegener's granulomatosis the sensitivity and positive predictive accuracy of a positive cytoplasmic ANCA (c-ANCA) test were greater than of a positive perinuclear ANCA (p-ANCA) test. There were 61 positive tests in 266 patients who did not have Wegener's granulomatosis (23%); of these 27 were from patients with infection, 10 with fibrotic lung disease, nine with underlying connective tissue disease, seven with malignancy, and five following pulmonary emboli. Most of these positive ANCA results were p-ANCA (69%) rather than c-ANCA (31%). Serial ANCA requests were made in 15 cases of patients without Wegener's granulomatosis who had an initial positive ANCA test result. In all cases the ANCA tests subsequently became negative. CONCLUSIONS--In this study the sensitivity and specificity of a positive ANCA test result were less than that reported from specialised centres. However, the test was found to be useful in clinical practice, especially c-ANCA, in conjunction with clinical symptoms of respiratory pathology and evidence of renal disease.
PMCID: PMC1021148  PMID: 8202876
8.  Diagnostic value of classical and atypical antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA) immunofluorescence patterns. 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  1999;52(2):124-128.
BACKGROUND: The "classical" antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (C-ANCA) pattern seen on indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) is characterised by granular cytoplasmic staining showing central or interlobular accentuation, and is strongly associated with antiproteinase-3 antibodies (PR3-ANCA) and Wegener's granulomatosis. However, many laboratories report C-ANCA in the presence of any cytoplasmic IIF staining, regardless of pattern, which risks reducing the diagnostic value of this pattern. AIMS: To classify different cytoplasmic ANCA patterns and thus determine whether stringent application of the classical criteria for C-ANCA would produce better correlation between C-ANCA and (1) PR3-ANCA enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) results; (2) a diagnosis of systemic vasculitis (including Wegener's granulomatosis). METHODS: 72 sera with cytoplasmic IIF collected over a two year period were analysed by IIF and a commercial PR3-ANCA ELISA kit. RESULTS: Three IIF patterns were defined: "classical/true" C-ANCA as described above (n = 27 (37.5%)); "flat" ANCA with homogeneous cytoplasmic staining (n = 21 (29%)); and "atypical" ANCA which included all other cytoplasmic patterns (n = 24 (33.5%)). Twenty five of the 27 true C-ANCA sera (92.5%) contained PR3-ANCA (p < 0.0001), but none of the 21 with flat ANCA and only one of the 24 with atypical ANCA. From clinical data on 23 of the 27 true C-ANCA positive patients, 20 (87%) had evidence of Wegener's granulomatosis or systemic vasculitis (p < 0.0001 v the other two patterns). However, none of 19 sera with flat ANCA and clinical data had evidence of systemic vasculitis. CONCLUSIONS: Restricting the term "c-ANCA" to the "classical" description of central/interlobular accentuation on IIF, will improve its correlation with PR3-ANCA positivity and a diagnosis of systemic vasculitis.
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PMCID: PMC501056  PMID: 10396240
9.  Culture-negative subacute bacterial endocarditis masquerades as granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener’s granulomatosis) involving both the kidney and lung 
BMC Nephrology  2012;13:174.
Background
Subacute bacterial endocarditis (SBE) occasionally exhibits positive cytoplasmic anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (c-ANCA) of the anti-proteinase-3 (PR-3) type. Clinically, it mimics ANCA-associated vasculitis, such as Wegener's disease with glomerulonephritis. Lung abscesses are the most common manifestation of lung involvement. We herein report a case of culture-negative SBE strongly c-ANCA/PR3-positive accompanied by pulmonary involvement and glomerulonephritis. In this case, we took biopsies of both the lung and kidney, although renal biopsy is usually preferred over lung biopsy. The lung biopsy showed severe alveolar capillaritis, suggesting vasculitis consistent with polyangiitis. The renal biopsy revealed glomerulonephritis with a membranoproliferative pattern. To our knowledge, this is the first such reported case.
Case presentation
A 68-year-old Chinese male patient presented to our hospital with a fever, cough, chest pain, and recurrent peripheral edema. He had a past medical history significant for treated schistosomiasis 20 years previously. Physical examination revealed palpable purpura, mild hypertension, hepatosplenomegaly, and a holosystolic cardiac murmur (Levine 2/6). Echocardiography showed tricuspid valve vegetations with moderate to severe regurgitation. Serum c-ANCA/PR3 and cryoglobulin were strongly positive. Renal biopsy results indicated membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis with several crescents. Chest CT revealed multiple intraparenchymal and subpleural nodules, and lung biopsy showed polyangiitis. The patient’s ANCA titers, glomerulonephritis, and pulmonary injury all resolved after antibiotic therapy.
Conclusion
SBE may present with positive c-ANCA/PR3, multiple pulmonary nodules, pulmonary polyangiitis, and glomerulonephritis clinically mimicking granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener's granulomatosis).
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-13-174
PMCID: PMC3574827  PMID: 23268737
Subacute bacterial endocarditis; PR3/c-ANCA; Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener's granulomatosis); Glomerulonephritis
10.  Antibodies to Proteinase 3 Prime Human Oral, Lung, and Kidney Epithelial Cells To Secrete Proinflammatory Cytokines upon Stimulation with Agonists to Various Toll-Like Receptors, NOD1, and NOD2▿  
Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) are autoantibodies, the detection of which in serum can be used in the diagnosis of Wegener's granulomatosis (WG). Proteinase 3 (PR3) is a major target antigen of ANCA in WG patients, and the interaction of PR3 ANCA with leukocytes causes a debilitating autoimmune disease. The first signs and symptoms in WG patients are observed in the oral cavity, lungs, and kidneys. Human epithelial cells generally do not secrete proinflammatory cytokines upon stimulation with pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). In this study, anti-PR3 antibodies (Abs) and PR3 ANCA-containing sera from WG patients endowed human oral, lung, and kidney epithelial cells with responsiveness to PAMPs in terms of the production of proinflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-8, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, and tumor necrosis factor alpha. Protease-activated receptor-2 (PAR-2) agonist peptides mimicked the priming effects of PR3 ANCA against PAMPs. Furthermore, the anti-PR3 Ab-mediated cell activation was significantly abolished by RNA interference targeting PAR-2 and NF-κB. This is the first report of priming effects of anti-PR3 Abs (PR3 ANCA) on epithelial cells. The results suggest that anti-PR3 Abs (PR3 ANCA) prime human epithelial cells to produce cytokines upon stimulation with various PAMPs, and these mechanisms may be involved in severe chronic inflammation in WG.
doi:10.1128/CVI.00137-08
PMCID: PMC2446640  PMID: 18495849
11.  Wegener's granulomatosis autoantibodies identify a novel diisopropylfluorophosphate-binding protein in the lysosomes of normal human neutrophils. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1989;84(5):1577-1587.
Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies (ANCA) specifically associated with Wegener's granulomatosis were found to be directed against a saline-soluble glycoprotein triplet that migrates on SDS gels as distinct bands of Mr 29,000, 30,500, and 32,000 and is present in the azurophilic granules. This antigen was specifically recognized by all cytoplasmic-staining (C)-ANCA-positive sera from patients with Wegener's disease. C-ANCA antigen bound [3H]diisopropylfluorophosphate, which indicates that it is a serine protease, but it could clearly be distinguished from the serine proteases elastase and cathepsin G. Stimulation of cytochalasin B-treated neutrophils with FMLP induced release of C-ANCA antigen. This indicates that in vivo C-ANCA might interact with the C-ANCA antigen after its release upon inflammatory stimulation. We further demonstrate that in some perinuclear staining (P-ANCA) patients' sera autoantibodies against other myeloid lysosomal enzymes can be detected, such as antimyeloperoxidase and antielastase. C-ANCA and P-ANCA thus represent a novel class of autoantibodies directed against myeloid lysosomal enzymes. The originally described Wegener-specific C-ANCA show an apparently uniform specificity for the 29,000 serine protease. In contrast, P-ANCA may recognize myeloperoxidase as well as elastase and/or other antigens.
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PMCID: PMC304024  PMID: 2681270
12.  Discrimination and Variable Impact of ANCA Binding to Different Surface Epitopes on Proteinase 3, the Wegener’s Autoantigen 
Journal of autoimmunity  2010;35(4):299-308.
Proteinase 3 (PR3)-specific antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) are highly specific for the autoimmune small vessel vasculitis, Wegener’s granulomatosis (WG). PR3-ANCA have proven diagnostic value but their pathogenic potential and utility as a biomarker for disease activity remain unclear. PR3-ANCA recognize conformational epitopes, and epitope-specific PR3-ANCA subsets with variable impact on biological functions of PR3 have been postulated. The aims of this study were to identify specific PR3 surface epitopes recognized by monoclonal antibodies (moAbs) and to determine whether the findings can be used to measure the functional impact of epitope-specific PR3-ANCA and their potential relationship to disease activity. We used a novel flow cytometry assay based on TALON-beads coated with recombinant human (H) and murine (M) PR3 and 10 custom-designed chimeric human/mouse rPR3-variants (Hm1–5/Mh1–5) identifying 5 separate non-conserved PR3 surface epitopes. Anti-PR3 moAbs recognize 4 major surface epitopes, and we identified the specific surface location of 3 of these with the chimeric rPR3-variants. The ability of PR3-ANCA to inhibit the enzymatic activity of PR3 was measured indirectly using a capture-ELISA system based on the different epitopes recognized by capturing moAbs. Epitope-specific PR3-ANCA capture-ELISA results obtained from patient plasma (n=27) correlated with the inhibition of enzymatic activity of PR3 by paired IgG preparations (r=0.7, P<0.01). The capture-ELISA results also seem to reflect disease activity. In conclusion, insights about epitopes recognized by anti-PR3 moAbs can be applied to separate PR3-ANCA subsets with predictable functional qualities. The ability of PR3-ANCA to inhibit the enzymatic activity of PR3, a property linked to disease activity, can now be gauged using a simple epitope-based capture-ELISA system.
doi:10.1016/j.jaut.2010.06.021
PMCID: PMC2963671  PMID: 20810247
ANCA; proteinase 3; Wegener’s granulomatosis; vasculitis
13.  A review of immunofluorescent patterns associated with antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) and their differentiation from other antibodies. 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  1998;51(8):568-575.
AIM: To describe the neutrophil fluorescent patterns produced by antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) with different antigen specificities, and by other auto- and alloantibodies. BACKGROUND: Most sera from patients with active generalised Wegener's granulomatosis result in diffusely granular cytoplasmic neutrophil fluorescence with internuclear accentuation (cANCA) and proteinase 3 (PR3) specificity. About 80% of the sera from patients with microscopic polyangiitis result in perinuclear neutrophil fluorescence with nuclear extension (pANCA) and myeloperoxidase (MPO) specificity, or a cANCA pattern with PR3 specificity. However, many different neutrophil fluorescence patterns are noted on testing for ANCA in routine immunodiagnostic laboratories. METHODS: Sera sent for ANCA testing, or containing a variety of auto- and alloantibodies, were studied. They were examined by indirect immunofluorescence according to the recommendations of the first international ANCA workshop, and for PR3 and MPO specificity in commercial and in-house enzyme linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA). RESULTS: Sera with typical cANCA accounted for only half of all neutrophil cytoplasmic fluorescence. Other sera had "flatter" fluorescence without internuclear accentuation, and the corresponding antigens included MPO and bactericidal/permeability increasing protein (BPI), but were usually unknown. Peripheral nuclear fluorescence without nuclear extension occurred typically when the antigens were BPI, lactoferrin, lysozyme, elastase, or cathepsin G. Most types of ANA were evident on ethanol fixed neutrophil nuclei. AntidsDNA, antiRo, and antilamin antibodies resembled pANCA. Antimicrobial and antiribosomal antibodies produced cytoplasmic fluorescence, and antiGolgi antibodies, a pANCA. Sera from patients with anti-smooth muscle antibodies were associated with cytoplasmic fluorescence. There was no neutrophil fluorescence with anti-skeletal muscle and anti-heart muscle antibodies, anti-liver/kidney microsomal, antithyroid microsomal, or antiadrenal antibodies. Alloantibodies such as antiNB1 typically resulted in cytoplasmic fluorescence of only a subpopulation of the neutrophils. CONCLUSIONS: The ability to distinguish between different neutrophil fluorescence patterns, and the patterns seen with other auto- and alloantibodies is helpful diagnostically. However, the demonstration of MPO or PR3 specificity by ELISA will indicate that the neutrophil fluorescence is probably clinically significant, and that the diagnosis is likely to be Wegener's granulomatosis or microscopic polyangiitis.
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PMCID: PMC500847  PMID: 9828813
14.  Epigenetic basis for aberrant upregulation of autoantigen genes in humans with ANCA vasculitis 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2010;120(9):3209-3219.
Antineutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibody (ANCA) causes vascular injury that leads to small-vessel vasculitis. Patients with ANCA aberrantly express neutrophil granule–encoding genes, including 2 that encode autoantigens: proteinase 3 (PR3) and myeloperoxidase (MPO). To uncover a potential transcriptional regulatory mechanism for PR3 and MPO disrupted in patients with ANCA vasculitis, we examined the PR3 and MPO loci in neutrophils from ANCA patients and healthy control individuals for epigenetic modifications associated with gene silencing. We found that levels of the chromatin modification H3K27me3, which is associated with gene silencing, were depleted at PR3 and MPO loci in ANCA patients compared with healthy controls. Interestingly, in both patients and controls, DNA was unmethylated at a CpG island in PR3, whereas in healthy controls, DNA was methylated at a CpG island in MPO. Consistent with decreased levels of H3K27me3, JMJD3, the demethylase specific for H3K27me3, was preferentially expressed in ANCA patients versus healthy controls. In addition, we describe a mechanism for recruiting the H3K27 methyltransferase enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) to PR3 and MPO loci mediated by RUNX3. RUNX3 message was decreased in patients compared with healthy controls, and may also be under epigenetic control. DNA methylation was increased at the RUNX3 promoter in ANCA patients. These data indicate that epigenetic modifications associated with gene silencing are perturbed at ANCA autoantigen–encoding genes, potentially contributing to inappropriate expression of PR3 and MPO in ANCA patients.
doi:10.1172/JCI40034
PMCID: PMC2929711  PMID: 20714105
15.  Comparative investigation of respiratory tract involvement in granulomatosis with polyangiitis between PR3-ANCA positive and MPO-ANCA positive cases: a retrospective cohort study 
Background
The clinical characteristics of myeloperoxidase antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (MPO-ANCA) positive granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) remain unclear, as does the difference between MPO-ANCA positive GPA and proteinase 3 (PR3)-ANCA positive GPA, especially with regard to the details of respiratory tract involvement. We investigated the differences in clinical, radiological, and histopathological features between PR3-ANCA positive GPA and MPO-ANCA positive GPA.
Methods
We retrospectively reviewed 16 patients who were newly diagnosed with GPA between December 2000 and July 2014. One patient, who was positive for both PR3-ANCA and MPO-ANCA, was excluded. Our review was based on the European Medicine Agency (EMA) algorithm.
Results
Fifty-six percent of GPA patients were positive for PR3-ANCA, 38 % for MPO-ANCA, and the remaining 6 % for both. The MPO-ANCA positive group included a greater number of females (67 %). There were no statistically significant differences in laboratory data, symptoms and signs, Birmingham Vasculitis Activity Score, or CT findings between the two groups. As for upper respiratory tract involvement, the most common manifestation was paranasal sinusitis, whereas lung nodules were most common as the lower respiratory tract involvement in both groups. Although the combination therapy with prednisone and cyclophosphamide was the most common initial treatment in both groups, the relapse rate in MPO-ANCA positive cases was lower than that of PR3-ANCA positive cases (17 % and 56 %, respectively).
Conclusion
A high prevalence of MPO-ANCA positive GPA was noted. No significant differences in clinico-radiological findings were observed except for the prevalence of relapse between the PR3-ANCA positive cases and MPO-ANCA positive cases, suggesting that the type of ANCA may be of little help in the diagnosis of GPA. Examination for granulomatous findings in the respiratory tract is important, even in MPO-ANCA positive cases. There is a need to accumulate more cases and conduct a further investigation in the future.
doi:10.1186/s12890-015-0068-1
PMCID: PMC4520074  PMID: 26223225
Granulomatosis with polyangiitis; Respiratory tract involvement; Ant-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody; Proteinase 3; Myeloperoxidase
16.  Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated autoimmune diseases induced by antithyroid drugs: comparison with idiopathic ANCA vasculitides 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2005;7(5):R1072-R1081.
Clinical and serological profiles of idiopathic and drug-induced autoimmune diseases can be very similar. We compared data from idiopathic and antithyroid drug (ATD)-induced antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-positive patients. From 1993 to 2003, 2474 patients were tested for ANCA in the Laboratory for Allergy and Clinical Immunology in Belgrade. Out of 2474 patients, 72 (2.9%) were anti-proteinase 3 (PR3)- or anti-myeloperoxidase (MPO)-positive and their clinical and serological data were analyzed. The first group consisted of ANCA-associated idiopathic systemic vasculitis (ISV) diagnosed in 56/72 patients: 29 Wegener's granulomatosis (WG), 23 microscopic polyangiitis (MPA) and four Churg-Strauss syndrome. The second group consisted of 16/72 patients who became ANCA-positive during ATD therapy (12 receiving propylthiouracil and four receiving methimazole). We determined ANCA and antinuclear (ANA) antibodies by indirect immunofluorescence; PR3-ANCA, MPO-ANCA, anticardiolipin (aCL) and antihistone antibodies (AHA) by ELISA; and cryoglobulins by precipitation. Complement components C3 and C4, alpha-1 antitrypsin (α1 AT) and C reactive protein (CR-P) were measured by nephelometry. Renal lesions were present in 3/16 (18.8%) ATD-treated patients and in 42/56 (75%) ISV patients (p <0.001). Skin lesions occurred in 10/16 (62.5%) ATD-treated patients and 14/56 (25%) ISV patients (p <0.01). ATD-treated patients more frequently had MPO-ANCA, ANA, AHA, aCL, cryoglobulins and low C4 (p <0.01). ISV patients more frequently had low α1 AT (p = 0.059) and high CR-P (p <0.001). Of 16 ATD-treated patients, four had drug-induced ANCA vasculitis (three MPA and one WG), while 12 had lupus-like disease (LLD). Of 56 ISV patients, 13 died and eight developed terminal renal failure (TRF). There was no lethality in the ATD-treated group, but 1/16 with methimazole-induced MPA developed pulmonary-renal syndrome with progression to TRF. ANCA-positive ISV had a more severe course in comparison with ATD-induced ANCA-positive diseases. Clinically and serologically ANCA-positive ATD-treated patients can be divided into two groups: the first consisting of patients with drug-induced WG or MPA which resemble ISV and the second consisting of patients with LLD. Different serological profiles could help in the differential diagnosis and adequate therapeutic approach to ANCA-positive ATD-treated patients with symptoms of systemic disease.
doi:10.1186/ar1789
PMCID: PMC1257438  PMID: 16207324
17.  Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies in Wegener's granulomatosis 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  1998;79(3):246-250.
The prevalence of antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) was studied in 12 children with Wegener's granulomatosis. The serum samples were taken in the active phase of disease and were screened for ANCA by indirect immunofluorescence with normal neutrophils and enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using crude neutrophil extract, proteinase 3, myeloperoxidase, cathepsin G, lactoferrin, and elastase as antigens. Of these 12 patients, 10 were positive for ANCA in the active phase of their illness, and they showed a predominantly cytoplasmic ANCA staining pattern on indirect immunofluorescence. There were high titres of ANCA directed against crude neutrophil extract, proteinase 3, myeloperoxidase, and cathepsin G. IgM isotypes occurred as commonly as IgG isotypes. Therefore, screening for ANCA is usually but not invariably positive in children with Wegener's granulomatosis. Specific diagnosis still relies on clinical and pathological features, and the value of ANCA in the diagnosis of paediatric Wegener's granulomatosis requires further study.


PMCID: PMC1717682  PMID: 9875021
18.  Twenty-eight years with antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA): how to test for ANCA — evidence-based immunology? 
Auto-Immunity Highlights  2010;1(1):39-43.
Wegener’s granulomatosis, microscopic polyangiitis, Churg-Strauss syndrome, and primary pauci-immune crescentic glomerulonephritis are associated with circulating antineutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies (ANCA) (collectively called ANCA-associated vasculitides, AAV). Two types of ANCA, one with a cytoplasmic fluorescence pattern (C-ANCA) and specificity for proteinase 3 (PR3-ANCA) and the other with a perinuclear pattern (P-ANCA) and specificity for myeloperoxidase (MPO-ANCA), account for this association and are highly specific markers for these vasculitides. AAV most often require therapy with cytotoxic and antiinflammatory agents, and hence a well-established diagnosis is mandatory to avoid unnecessary and risky treatment. The widespread use of ANCA screening in the past decade has resulted in the occurrence of greater numbers of false-positive results and has led to greater difficulty in test interpretation. Methods for ANCA detection have been standardized internationally in large multicentre studies and an international consensus statement on testing and reporting of ANCA has been pub lished (1999 and 2003). Despite these advances, problems with the extended use of ANCA testing in daily clinical practice remain. They may be summarized as follows: (1) the basic standards for ANCA testing are not uniformly met; (2) there is still controversy over the value of formalin fixation of neutrophils in differentiating P-ANCA from antinuclear antibodies (what is the place of this substrate in ANCA testing?); (3) the new generation of PR3-ANCA and MPO-ANCA ELISAs are more sensitive and specific than immunofluorescence testing (should ELISAs replace the immunofluorescence test?); and (4) should alternative methods for ANCA detection such as image analysis and/or multiplex immunoassays be used for screening? In this paper, we review these issues, identify areas of uncertainty, and provide practical guidelines where possible.
doi:10.1007/s13317-010-0007-3
PMCID: PMC4389065  PMID: 26000106
ANCA; Screening; Proteinase 3; Myeloperoxidase; ANCA-associated vasculitides
19.  Classification and characteristics of Japanese patients with antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitis in a nationwide, prospective, inception cohort study 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2014;16(2):R101.
Introduction
We investigated the clinical and serological features of patients with antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis (AAV) in Japan using data from a nationwide, prospective, inception cohort study.
Methods
In total, 156 Japanese patients with newly diagnosed AAV were classified according to the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) algorithm with exploratory surrogate markers for AAV-related non-granulomatous pulmonary lesions, predefined as alveolar haemorrhage and interstitial lung disease (ILD), and their clinical and serological features were evaluated.
Results
Using the EMEA algorithm, we identified 14 patients (9.0%) with eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA), 33 (21.2%) with granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA), 78 (50.0%) with microscopic polyangiitis and renal-limited vasculitis (MPA/RLV), and 31 (19.9%) with unclassifiable vasculitis. The average ages of patients with EGPA (male/female, 5/9), GPA (12/21), and MPA/RLV (35/43) and unclassifiable (9/22) were 58.0, 63.6, 71.1, and 70.6 years, respectively. Myeloperoxidase (MPO)-ANCA and proteinase-3 ANCA positivity was 50.0% and 0% for EGPA, 54.6% and 45.5% for GPA, 97.4% and 2.6% for MPA/RLV, and 93.5% and 3.2% for unclassifiable, respectively. According to the Birmingham Vasculitis Activity Score (BVAS), cutaneous (71.4%) and nervous system (92.9%) manifestations were prominent in EGPA and ear, nose, and throat manifestations (84.9%) and chest manifestations (66.7%) in GPA. Renal manifestations developed frequently in MPA/RLV (91.0%) and GPA (63.6%). The average serum creatinine levels were 0.71 mg/dL for EGPA, 1.51 mg/dL for GPA, 2.46 mg/dL for MPA/RLV, and 0.69 mg/dL for unclassifiable. The percentages of patients with ILD were 14.3% for EGPA, 9.0% for GPA, 47.4% for MPA/RLV, and 61.3% for unclassifiable. Patients with ILD (n = 61) had significantly lower BVAS (P = 0.019) with fewer ear, nose, and throat and cardiovascular manifestations than patients without ILD (n = 95).
Conclusions
MPO-ANCA-positive MPA/RLV is the most common form of AAV in Japanese patients, and one-half of patients with GPA were positive for MPO-ANCA. ILD is an important clinical manifestation in Japanese patients with AAV. Unclassifiable vasculitis with MPO-ANCA positivity and ILD may represent a novel variant of MPA.
Trial Registration
The University Hospital Medical Information Network Clinical Trials Registry: UMIN000001648. Registered 28 February 2009.
doi:10.1186/ar4550
PMCID: PMC4060546  PMID: 24758294
20.  The binding of proteinase 3 antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (PR3-ANCA) varies in different ELISAs 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  2004;57(3):303-308.
Background: The demonstration of proteinase 3 specific antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (PR3-ANCA), and the estimation of antibody values are useful in the diagnosis and management of patients with Wegener’s granulomatosis (WG). However, external quality assessment programmes suggest that PR3-ANCA binding varies in different assays.
Aim: To demonstrate variations in PR3-ANCA binding in different commercial and in house enzyme linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs).
Method: Binding of a PR3-ANCA standard and 19 sera from patients with WG was compared in eight commercial and in house assays. Binding was expressed in different units depending on the kit.
Results: One commercial assay performed unsatisfactorily. Three commercial kits produced PR3-ANCA binding (70, 102, and 84 U/ml) close to the expected value for the standard (100 U/ml). Serial dilutions of this standard were linear in only one commercial assay and the in house assay. Sera from patients with WG with borderline binding in the in house assay bound in the eight commercial kits at 0–148 kit units; low binding sera ranged from 0 to 273 units; moderately strong sera bound at 7–260 units; and strongly binding sera bound at 13–336 units. In four assays, at least one strongly positive serum bound at levels greater than the provided range.
Conclusions: Levels of antibody binding and units of binding have not been standardised in commercially available PR3-ANCA ELISAs. This may affect the diagnosis and management of patients with WG, in addition to the implementation of international guidelines for treatment.
doi:10.1136/jcp.2003.009332
PMCID: PMC1770226  PMID: 14990605
antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies; enzyme linked immunosorbent assay; proteinase 3; standardisation; Wegener’s granulomatosis
21.  Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies in myelodysplasia. 
The Ulster Medical Journal  1996;65(1):55-57.
Antibodies to neutrophil cytoplasmic antigens (ANCA) are good serological markers for patients with mainly vasculitic conditions. Two main types of ANCAs have been detected, the first termed cytoplasmic antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (cANCA) are mainly associated with patients with Wegener's granulomatosis, the other termed perinuclear antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (pANCA) are mainly associated with patients with renal vasculitis, rheumatic and collagen disorders. These antibodies are against various constituents of neutrophil granules. In patients with myelodysplasia, defects in normal granulocyte development are seen. We report a series of twelve patients with myelodysplasia of whom at least four showed a low titre and one a high titre of pANCA. Two of these patients also had demonstrable activity against myeloperoxidase (MPO). None of these patients had any evidence of systemic or cutaneous vasculitis or of any autoimmune disorder. There was no pANCA positivity in an age matched control group.
PMCID: PMC2448746  PMID: 8686102
22.  Variations in performance characteristics of commercial enzyme immunoassay kits for detection of antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies: what is the optimal cut off? 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2005;64(12):1773-1779.
Background: Previous studies have shown considerable variation in diagnostic performance of enzyme linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) for measuring antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) specific for proteinase 3 (PR3) and myeloperoxidase (MPO).
Objective: To analyse the performance characteristics of different commercially available direct ANCA ELISA kits.
Methods: ELISA kits for detecting PR3-ANCA and MPO-ANCA from 11 manufacturers were evaluated. Serum samples were taken from patients with Wegener's granulomatosis (15), microscopic polyangiitis (15), other vasculitides (10), and controls (40). Results were compared with data obtained by indirect immunofluorescence (IFT). The diagnostic performance of the tests was analysed and compared by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis.
Results: Applying the manufacturers' cut off resulted in great variation in sensitivity of the commercial PR3-ANCA kits for diagnosing Wegener's granulomatosis (ranging from 13.3% to 66.7%), and of the MPO-ANCA kits for diagnosing microscopic polyangiitis (ranging from 26.7% to 66.7%). Specificities were relatively constant (from 96.0% to 100%). IFT was superior to all ELISAs (C-ANCA for Wegener's granulomatosis: sensitivity 73.3%, specificity 98%; P-ANCA for microscopic polyangiitis: sensitivity 86.7%, specificity 98%). The sensitivities of PR3-ANCA and MPO-ANCA ELISA kits were increased by lowering the cut off values. This reduced specificity but increased overall diagnostic performance.
Conclusions: The low sensitivity of some commercial kits reflects the high cut off levels recommended rather than methodological problems with the assays. Comparative analyses using sera from well characterised patients may help identify optimum cut off levels of commercial ANCA ELISA tests, resulting in better comparability of results among assays from different manufacturers.
doi:10.1136/ard.2005.035279
PMCID: PMC1755320  PMID: 15843447
23.  Rituximab for Refractory Wegener's Granulomatosis 
Rationale: Standard therapy for Wegener's granulomatosis is fraught with substantial toxicity and not always effective. B lymphocytes have been implicated in the pathogenesis of Wegener's granulomatosis. Their depletion has been proposed as salvage therapy for refractory disease. Earlier encouraging reports are confounded by concomitant immunosuppressive medications and include only limited available biomarker data.
Objectives: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of rituximab for remission induction in refractory Wegener's granulomatosis.
Methods: A prospective open-label pilot trial was conducted with 10 patients monitored for 1 yr. Included were patients with active severe antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)–associated vasculitis, ANCA positivity, and resistance to (or intolerance of) cyclophosphamide. The remission induction regimen consisted of oral prednisone (1 mg/kg/d) and four weekly infusions of rituximab (375 mg/m2). Prednisone was tapered and discontinued over 5 mo. Failure to achieve remission, a clinical flare in the absence of B lymphocytes, and inability to complete the glucocorticoid taper were considered treatment failures.
Main Results: Three women and seven men (median age, 57 yr; range, 25–72 yr) were enrolled. All had ANCA reacting with proteinase-3. The median activity score at enrollment was 6 (range, 5–10). All patients tolerated rituximab well, achieved swift B-lymphocyte depletion and complete clinical remission (activity score, 0) by 3 mo, and were tapered off glucocorticoids by 6 mo. Five patients were retreated with rituximab alone for recurring/rising ANCA titers according to protocol. One patient experienced a clinical flare after B lymphocyte reconstitution.
Conclusion: In this cohort, rituximab was a well-tolerated and effective remission induction agent for severe refractory Wegener's granulomatosis.
doi:10.1164/rccm.200507-1144OC
PMCID: PMC2662987  PMID: 16224107
24.  CpG oligodeoxynucleotide stimulates production of anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies in ANCA associated vasculitis 
BMC Immunology  2008;9:34.
Background
Wegener's Granulomatosis and Microscopic Polyangiitis are life-threatening systemic necrotizing vasculitides of unknown aetiology. The appearance of circulating antibodies to neutrophil cytoplasmic antigens (ANCA) is strongly associated with the development of the disease. A link between infection and disease has long been suspected, and the appearance of ANCA antibodies has been reported following bacterial and viral infections. The depletion of circulating B cells with monoclonal antibody therapy can induce remission, and this observation suggests a pathogenic role for B cells in this disease. As bacterial DNA is known to induce B cell proliferation and antibody production via TLR-9 stimulation, we have explored the possibility that unmethylated CpG oligodeoxynucleotide, as found in bacterial and viral DNA, may play a role in stimulating circulating autoreactive B cells to produce ANCA in patients with vasculitis.
Results
We have confirmed that unmethylated CpG oligonucleotide is a potent stimulator of antibody production by PBMC in vitro. The stimulation of PBMC with CpG oligonucleutides resulted in the production of similar amounts of IgG in both ANCA+ patients and normal controls. In spite of this, PR3 ANCA+ patients synthesised significantly higher amount of IgG ANCA than normal controls. In MPO ANCA+ patients, there was a tendency for patients to produce higher amount of ANCA than controls, however, the difference did not reach significance. Furthermore, we were able to detect circulating MPO-reactive B cells by ELISpot assay from the peripheral blood of 2 MPO+ ANCA vasculitis patients. Together, this indicates that circulating anti-neutrophil autoreactive B cells are present in ANCA+ vasculitis patients, and they are capable of producing antibodies in response to CpG stimulation. Of note, CpG also induced the production of the relevant autoantibodies in patients with other types of autoimmune diseases.
Conclusion
Circulating ANCA autoreactive B cells are present in patients with ANCA+ vasculitis. The production of ANCA from these cells in response to unmethylated CpG stimulation lead us to propose that stimulation of these cells by immunostimulatory DNA sequences such as CpG oligodeoxynucleotide during infection may provide a link between infection and ANCA associated vasculitis. This phenomenon may also apply to other antibody mediated autoimmune diseases.
doi:10.1186/1471-2172-9-34
PMCID: PMC2483256  PMID: 18625057
25.  B lymphocyte maturation in Wegener's granulomatosis: a comparative analysis of VH genes from endonasal lesions 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2005;65(7):859-864.
Background
Anti‐neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) directed against proteinase 3 (PR3) are highly specific for Wegener's granulomatosis (WG). Evidence for a pivotal role of PR3‐ANCA in the induction of vasculitis has been demonstrated. B cell clusters have been observed within endonasal biopsy specimens.
Objectives
To determine whether B cell selection and maturation take place in granulomatous lesions of WG.
Methods
Granulomatous lesions and the immunoglobulin (VH) gene repertoire from nasal tissue of six WG patients—two active and two smouldering localised WG (ANCA negative, restricted to respiratory tract), plus one active and one smouldering PR3‐ANCA positive generalised WG—were characterised by immunohistochemistry, polymerase chain reaction, cloning, DNA sequencing and database comparison.
Results
B lymphocyte‐rich, follicle‐like areas were observed proximal to PR3 positive cells and plasma cells in granulomatous lesions; 184 VH genes from these granulomatous lesions were compared with 84 VH genes from peripheral blood of a healthy donor. The mutational pattern of VH genes from active WG resembled memory B cells. Structural homologies of VH genes from granulomatous lesions to PR3‐ANCA encoding genes were detected. Significantly more genes (55%, 45%, and 53%, respectively) from active WG compared with the healthy repertoire carried mutations to negatively charged amino acids within the binding site coding regions, favouring affinity to the positively charged PR3.
Conclusions
Selection and affinity maturation of potentially PR3‐ANCA producing autoreactive B cells may start in granulomatous lesions, thereby contributing to disease progression from ANCA negative localised to PR3‐ANCA positive generalised WG.
doi:10.1136/ard.2005.044909
PMCID: PMC1798221  PMID: 16291812
B lymphocyte; Wegener's granulomatosis; PR3; PR3‐ANCA; VH genes

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