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.
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.
SBE may present with positive c-ANCA/PR3, multiple pulmonary nodules, pulmonary polyangiitis, and glomerulonephritis clinically mimicking granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener's granulomatosis).
Subacute bacterial endocarditis; PR3/c-ANCA; Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener's granulomatosis); Glomerulonephritis
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).
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.
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.
Granulomatosis with polyangiitis; Wegener’s granulomatosis; Retinal vasculitis; Hemorrhages; Cyclophosphamide
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.)
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
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.
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.
To determine whether B cell selection and maturation take place in granulomatous lesions of WG.
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.
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.
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.
B lymphocyte; Wegener's granulomatosis; PR3; PR3‐ANCA; VH genes
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.
A retrospective analysis was conducted of eight cases of Wegener's granulomatosis (WG), who presented with cutaneous lesions. The clinical, immunopathologic and histopathologic features of the cutaneous lesions were reviewed. Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA) status of the patients was established. When possible, a comparison of immunofluorescence findings of skin biopsies was made with those of renal biopsies taken at the same time. In all except one, systemic and cutaneous disease developed concurrently. On histopathology, leukocytoclastic vasculitis was noted in five patients and features of lupus erythematosus and pyoderma gangrenosum in one case each. Four patients showed immunoglobulin deposits in subepidermal blood vessel walls, while one patient showed granular immune deposits at dermo-epidermal junction only. Immunoglobulin G was the most common immunoreactant detected. C-ANCA/proteinase 3 (PR3)-ANCA was positive in six patients, P-ANCA/myeloperoxidase (MPO)-ANCA in one patient, while one patient did not show ANCA positivity on indirect immunofluorescence. All four renal biopsies showed pauci-immune glomerulonephritis, irrespective of the presence (n=3) or absence (n=1) of immune deposits in the skin biopsy. Skin manifestations are encountered in nearly half of the patients with WG, thus it is important to be familiar with cutaneous histopathologic as well as immunofluorescence findings in WG patients.
Cutaneous biopsy; direct immunofluorescence; pauci-immune
Wegener's Granulomatosis (WG) is a systemic vasculitis typically associated with antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCAs). A small proportion of patients are ANCA negative, however, and this is more commonly found in individuals with disease limited to the ears, nose, throat, and lungs, who do not have renal involvement. Rituximab is a monoclonal anti-CD20 antibody that has been demonstrated to be effective in the treatment of autoantibody-associated rheumatic diseases, including systemic WG. We report the case of a patient with ANCA-negative WG who responded well to rituximab, illustrating that even in the absence of detectable autoantibodies, B-cell depletion can be effective.
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.
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
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.
The glycosylation status of autoantigens appears to be crucial for the pathogenesis of some autoimmune diseases, since carbohydrates play a crucial role in the distinction of self from non-self. Proteinase 3 (PR3), the main target antigen for anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) in patients with Wegener’s granulomatosis (WG), contains two Asn-linked glycosylation sites. The present study explores the influence of the glycosylation status of PR3 on the PR3 recognition by ANCA in a well characterized population of patients with WG.
Forty-four patients with WG (459 serum samples) who participated in a multicenter randomized trial, were tested by capture ELISA for ANCA against PR3 and deglycosylated recombinant variants of PR3.
The patients were followed for a median of 27 months, and the median number of serum samples per patient was 10. At baseline, the correlation between the levels of ANCA against PR3 and against all the deglycosylated recombinant variants of PR3 were greater than 0.94 (ρ<0.001 for all the comparisons). Longitudinal analyses comparing the levels of ANCA against PR3 versus all the deglycosylated recombinant variants of PR3, using linear mixed models, showed no significant statistical differences (ρ≥0.90 in all cases).
The glycosylation status of PR3 has no impact on its recognition by ANCA in WG.
ANCA; biological markers; glycosylation; proteinase 3; Wegener’s granulomatosis
Wegener’s granulomatosis (WG) is a multisystemic necrotising granulomatous vasculitis of small and medium sized vessels, that primarily involves the upper and lower respiratory tracts, lung tissues and kidneys. Serum antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) are a sensitive and specific marker of WG. Whereas the peripheral nervous system is often involved in WG, central nervous system manifestations are reported only in 2–8%, and are rarely present at onset. We report on a patient with atypical neurological presentation of ANCA negative WG in whom the diagnosis was made only after a meningeal biopsy.
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.
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.
Among the anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA), those targeting proteinase 3 (PR3) have a high specificity for Wegener's granulomatosis (WG). It is known that a preceding priming of neutrophils with cytokines is a prerequisite for membrane surface expression of PR3, which is then accessible to autoantibody binding. Employing a monoclonal antibody directed against human PR3 and ANCA- positive serum from WG patients with specificity for PR3, we now investigated the role of free arachidonic acid (AA) in autoantibody- related human neutrophil activation. Priming of neutrophils with tumor necrosis factor (TNF-alpha) for 15 min or exposure to anti-PR3 antibodies or incubation with free AA (10 microM) as sole events did not provoke superoxide generation, elastase secretion or generation of 5-lipoxygenase products of AA. Similarly, the combination of TNF-alpha- priming and AA incubation was ineffective. When TNF-alpha-primed neutrophils were stimulated by anti-PR3 antibodies, superoxide and elastase secretion was provoked in the absence of lipid mediator generation. However, when free AA was additionally provided, a strong activation of the 5-lipoxygenase pathway was demasked, with the appearance of excessive quantities of leukotriene (LT)B4, LTA4, and 5- hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid. Moreover, superoxide and elastase secretion were markedly amplified, and studies with 5-lipoxygenase inhibitors and a LTB4-antagonist demonstrated this was due to an LTB4- related autocrine loop of cell activation. In contrast, the increased synthesis of platelet-activating factor in response to TNF-alpha- priming and anti-PR3 stimulation did not contribute to the amplification loop of neutrophil activation under the given conditions. We conclude that anti-PR3 antibodies are potent inductors of the 5- lipoxygenase pathway in primed human neutrophils, and extracellular free AA, as provided at an inflammatory focus, synergizes with the autoantibodies to evoke full-blown lipid mediator generation, granule secretion and respiratory burst. Such events may be enrolled in the pathogenesis of focal necrotizing vascular injury in Wegener's granulomatosis.
The limited form of Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (GPA), formerly known as Wegener’s Granulomatosis (WG) primarily involves the head and neck region, including the orbit, but is often a diagnostic challenge, particularly as it commonly lacks positive anti-neutrophil cytoplasm antibody (ANCA) titres or classical features on diagnostic orbital biopsies. The purpose of this study was to relate biopsy findings with clinical outcome and to determine which histopathological features are predictive of a clinical diagnosis of GPA.
Retrospective case series of 234 patients identified from the database of the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology Department of Eye Pathology as having had orbital biopsies of orbital inflammatory disorders performed between 1988 and 2009. Clinical records were obtained for the patients and analysed to see whether patients had GPA or not, according to a standard set of diagnostic criteria (excluding any histopathological findings). Biopsy features were then correlated with the clinical diagnosis in univariate and multivariate analyses to determine factors predictive of GPA.
Of the 234 patients, 36 were diagnosed with GPA and 198 with other orbital pathologies. The majority of biopsies were from orbital masses (47%). Histology showed a range of acute and chronic inflammatory pictures in all biopsies, but the presence of neutrophils (P<0.001), vasculitis (P<0.001), necrosis (P<0.001), eosinophils (P<0.02) and macrophages (P=0.05) were significantly associated with a later clinical diagnosis of GPA. In a multivariate analysis, only tissue neutrophils (OR=3.6, P=0.01) and vasculitis (OR=2.6, P=0.02) were independently associated with GPA, in contrast to previous reports associating eosinophils and necrosis with the diagnosis.
Neutrophil, eosinophil and macrophage infiltration of orbital tissues, together with vasculitis and necrosis, are all associated with a clinical diagnosis of GPA, but only neutrophil infiltration and vasculitis are independently associated with this diagnosis. These features may assist in the establishing the diagnosis of limited GPA among patients with early orbital disease, particularly in the absence of positive serum ANCA titres.
Granulomatosis with polyangiitis; histopathology; eosinophils; nuclear dust
Eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA) is part of antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCAs)-associated vasculitides. In EGPA small-vessel vasculitis is associated with eosinophilia and asthma. About 40% of EGPA patients are ANCA-positive, suggesting a role for B cells in the pathogenesis of EGPA. B cell-depleting therapy with rituximab (RTX) can be effective in ANCA-positive EGPA, but very few patients have been published to date. The role of RTX in the treatment of ANCA-negative EGPA is unclear.
We report a single-center cohort of patients with eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis. Of these patients, nine (six ANCA-positive, three ANCA-negative) had been treated with RTX for relapsing or refractory disease on standard immunosuppressive treatment. In a retrospective analysis, data on treatment response, frequency of relapses, adverse events, and peripheral B-cell reconstitution were evaluated. Furthermore, serum immunoglobulin concentrations, ANCA status, and peripheral B cell subpopulations were assessed after RTX treatment.
All patients had high disease activity before RTX treatment. At presentation 3 months after RTX therapy, all ANCA-positive and ANCA-negative patients had responded to RTX, with one patient being in complete remission, and eight patients being in partial remission. After a mean follow-up of 9 months, C-reactive protein concentrations had normalized, eosinophils had significantly decreased, and prednisone had been tapered in all patients. In all patients, RTX therapy was combined with a standard immunosuppressive therapy. Within the 9-month observation period, no relapse was recorded. Three patients were preemptively retreated with RTX, and during the median follow-up time of 3 years, no relapse occurred in these patients. During the follow-up of 13 patient-years, five minor but no major infections were recorded.
In our analysis on nine patients with EGPA resistant to standard therapy, rituximab proved to be an efficient and safe treatment for ANCA-positive and ANCA-negative patients. Preemptive retreatment with RTX, combined with standard maintenance immunosuppressants, resulted in a sustained treatment response. Prospective, randomized trials evaluating the use of RTX in EGPA are warranted.
The use of serum antibodies to neutrophil cytoplasmic antigens (ANCA) as a diagnostic marker for Wegener's granulomatosis and other forms of vasculitis has been assessed. Although ANCA have been described by several groups the precise antigenic targets are unknown, and detection of ANCA still relies on an indirect immunofluorescence assay technique. Several different patterns of fluorescence have been produced by using sera from different groups of patients, and insufficient information is available on the frequency of positive results and of the patterns of immunofluorescence obtained when serum from patients with vasculitis as a part of a generalised connective tissue disease is used. A study was carried out on serum from 240 patients, including 23 patients with Wegener's granulomatosis, 12 with microscopic polyarteritis, and 30 with various connective tissue diseases. Three patterns of fluorescence were observed: bright coarsely granular cytoplasmic, bright non-granular cytoplasmic, and weak diffuse cytoplasmic. The bright, coarsely granular pattern was 86% specific for Wegener's granulomatosis in this series and was observed in 18 of 23 cases. Other patterns of fluorescence were found in various conditions and were not of diagnostic value. The technique is simple, inexpensive, rapid, and reproducible.
Wegener’s granulomatosis (WG) is a systemic disease with a complex genetic background. It is characterised by inflammation of the small blood vessels leading to damage in any number of organs. The common features include granulomatous inflammation of the respiratory tract and kidneys. Most patients have measurable autoantibodies against neutrophil proteinase-3 (Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic Antibody, ANCA). Pituitary involvement is a rare complication of this disease and, when it occurs, diabetes insipidus is the most common manifestation. We describe a 38-year-old female with known long-term WG who presented with partial hypopituitarism, severe malnutrition and ANCA negative status, with a favourable response to steroid pulse therapy.
Anti–neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCAs) targeting proteinase 3 (PR3) have a high specifity for Wegener's granulomatosis (WG), and their role in activating leukocytes is well appreciated. In this study, we investigated the influence of PR3-ANCA and murine monoclonal antibodies on human umbilical vascular endothelial cells (HUVECs). Priming of HUVECs with tumor necrosis factor α induced endothelial upregulation of PR3 message and surface expression of this antigen, as measured by Cyto-ELISA, with a maximum occurrence after 2 h. Primed cells responded to low concentrations of both antibodies (25 ng–2.5 μg/ml), but not to control immunoglobulins, with pronounced, dose-dependent phosphoinositide hydrolysis, as assessed by accumulation of inositol phosphates. The signaling response peaked after 20 min, in parallel with the appearance of marked prostacyclin and platelet-activating factor synthesis. The F(ab)2 fragment of ANCA was equally potent as ANCA itself. Disrupture of the endothelial F-actin content by botulinum C2 toxin to avoid antigen–antibody internalization did not affect the response. In addition to the metabolic events, anti-PR3 challenge, in the absence of plasma components, provoked delayed, dose-dependent increase in transendothelial protein leakage. We conclude that anti-PR3 antibodies are potent inductors of the preformed phosphoinositide hydrolysis–related signal tranduction pathway in human endothelial cells. Associated metabolic events and the loss of endothelial barrier properties suggest that anti-PR3–induced activation of endothelial cells may contribute to the pathogenetic sequelae of autoimmune vasculitis characterizing WG.
There remains a need for biomarkers to guide therapy in antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis. Our objective was to determine whether measures of platelet activation or inflammation are associated with disease activity in Wegener’s granulomatosis (WG).
Study subjects were participants in a clinical trial. Soluble CD40 ligand (sCD40L), C-reactive protein, interleukin 6 (IL-6), IL-8, monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1), P-selectin, vascular endothelial growth factor, and proteinase 3 (PR3)-specific ANCA were measured by ELISA using plasma samples obtained at baseline (active disease), at remission, and prior to, during, and after first flares. Disease activity was assessed by the Birmingham Vasculitis Activity Score for WG (BVAS/WG). Association of biomarkers with disease activity was determined with conditional logistic and linear regression.
Over a mean followup of 27 months, 180 subjects underwent 2044 visits; markers were measured in 563 samples. Longitudinally, all markers other than IL-6 were associated with disease activity. The strongest associations for active disease at baseline versus remission were observed for sCD40L (OR 4.72, 95% CI 2.47–9.03), P-selectin (OR 6.26, 95% CI 2.78–14.10), PR3-ANCA (OR 9.41, 4.03–21.99), and inversely for MCP-1 (OR 0.36, 95% CI 0.22–0.57). BVAS/WG increased by 0.80 (95% CI 0.44–1.16), 0.83 (95% CI 0.42–1.25), and 0.81 (95% CI 0.48–1.15) per unit-increase in PR3-ANCA, sCD40L, and P-selectin, respectively; and decreased by 1.54 (95% CI 0.96–2.12) per unit-increase in MCP-1.
Cytokines arising from within the circulation, including those of platelet activation, correlate with disease activity in WG.
VASCULITIS; BIOMARKERS; DISEASE ACTIVITY; WEGENER’S GRANULOMATOSIS