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1.  Simultaneous Automated Screening and Confirmatory Testing for Vasculitis-Specific ANCA 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e107743.
Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) are the serological hallmark of small vessel vasculitis, so called ANCA-associated vasculitis. The international consensus requires testing by indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) on human ethanol-fixed neutrophils (ethN) as screening followed by confirmation with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs). This study evaluates the combination of cell- and microbead-based digital IIF analysis of ANCA in one reaction environment by the novel multiplexing CytoBead technology for simultaneous screening and confirmatory ANCA testing. Sera of 592 individuals including 118 patients with ANCA-associated vasculitis, 133 with rheumatoid arthritis, 49 with infectious diseases, 77 with inflammatory bowel syndrome, 20 with autoimmune liver diseases, 70 with primary sclerosing cholangitis and 125 blood donors were tested for cytoplasmic ANCA (C-ANCA) and perinuclear ANCA (P-ANCA) by classical IIF and ANCA to proteinase 3 (PR3) and myeloperoxidase (MPO) by ELISA. These findings were compared to respective ANCA results determined by automated multiplex CytoBead technology using ethN and antigen-coated microbeads for microbead immunoassays. There was a good agreement for PR3- and MPO-ANCA and a very good one for P-ANCA and C-ANCA by classical and multiplex analysis (Cohen's kappa [κ] = 0.775, 0.720, 0.876, 0.820, respectively). The differences between classical testing and CytoBead analysis were not significant for PR3-ANCA, P-ANCA, and C-ANCA (p<0.05, respectively). The prevalence of confirmed positive ANCA findings by classical testing (IIF and ELISA) compared with multiplex CytoBead analysis (IIF and microbead immunoassay positive) resulted in a very good agreement (κ = 0.831) with no significant difference of both methods (p = 0.735). Automated endpoint-ANCA titer detection in one dilution demonstrated a very good agreement with classical analysis requiring dilution of samples (κ = 0.985). Multiplexing by CytoBead technology can be employed for simultaneous screening and quantitative confirmation of ANCA. This novel technique provides fast and cost-effective ANCA analysis by automated digital IIF for the first time.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0107743
PMCID: PMC4166465  PMID: 25225805
2.  Plasma cells within granulomatous inflammation display signs pointing to autoreactivity and destruction in granulomatosis with polyangiitis 
Introduction
Plasma cells residing in inflamed tissues produce antibodies in chronic inflammatory and systemic autoimmune diseases. This study examined if plasma cells, located within inflamed nasal tissue in granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA), express features potentially associated with the autoimmune and destructive character of this disease.
Methods
Ig gene mutation patterns of individual tissue-derived plasma cells from GPA (n = 5) were analyzed, by using laser-assisted microdissection followed by semi-nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Signs of B-lymphocyte maturation (ectopic lymphoid structures, ELS) and survival (a proliferation-inducing ligand, APRIL; B-cell maturation antigen, BCMA; transmembrane-activator and calcium modulator and cyclophilin interactor, TACI; receptor activator of nuclear factor κB ligand, RANKL) were examined in nasal tissues or serum, respectively, by using immunohistochemistry/fluorescence and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, ELISA.
Results
Plasma-cell derived Ig genes (light- and heavy-chain pairs, n = 4; heavy chains, n = 33) resembled mutation patterns seen in other autoimmune diseases, predominantly displaying selection against replacement mutations within the framework region of Ig genes (10 of 15), which is responsible for structural integrity. Ectopic lymphoid structures were similar between GPA and a disease control (that is, unspecific chronic rhinosinusitis. However, histomorphologic features distinguishing GPA from rhinosinusitis (that is, neutrophilic microabscess and granuloma) expressed considerable amounts of membrane-associated and secreted APRIL, respectively. The latter was co-localized with CD138 and found in close proximity to cells expressing IgG, TACI, and BCMA. Interestingly, plasma cells strongly expressed receptor activator of nuclear factor κB ligand (RANKL), apart from fibroblast-like cells.
Conclusions
Plasma cells within granulomatous inflammation appear to display features that might be required for autoreactivity and, possibly, RANKL-mediated destruction in GPA.
doi:10.1186/ar4490
PMCID: PMC3978674  PMID: 24555783
3.  Automated interpretation of ANCA patterns - a new approach in the serology of ANCA-associated vasculitis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2012;14(6):R271.
Introduction
Indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) employing ethanol-fixed neutrophils (ethN) is still the method of choice for assessing antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) in ANCA-associated vasculitides (AAV). However, conventional fluorescence microscopy is subjective and prone to high variability. The objective of this study was to evaluate novel pattern recognition algorithms for the standardized automated interpretation of ANCA patterns.
Methods
Seventy ANCA-positive samples (20 antimyeloperoxidase ANCA, 50 antiproteinase3 ANCA) and 100 controls from healthy individuals analyzed on ethN and formalin-fixed neutrophils (formN) by IIF were used as a 'training set' for the development of pattern recognition algorithms. Sera from 342 patients ('test set') with AAV and other systemic rheumatic and infectious diseases were tested for ANCA patterns using the novel pattern recognition algorithms and conventional fluorescence microscopy.
Results
Interpretation software employing pattern recognition algorithms was developed enabling positive/negative discrimination and classification of cytoplasmic ANCA (C-ANCA) and perinuclear ANCA (P-ANCA). Comparison of visual reading of the 'test set' samples with automated interpretation revealed Cohen's kappa (κ) values of 0.955 on ethN and 0.929 on formN for positive/negative discrimination. Analysis of the 'test set' with regard to the discrimination between C-ANCA and P-ANCA patterns showed a high agreement for ethN (κ = 0.746) and formN (κ = 0.847). There was no significant difference between visual and automated interpretation regarding positive/negative discrimination on ethN and formN, as well as ANCA pattern recognition (P > 0.05, respectively).
Conclusions
Pattern recognition algorithms can assist in the automated interpretation of ANCA IIF. Automated reading of ethN and formN IIF patterns demonstrated high consistency with visual ANCA assessment.
doi:10.1186/ar4119
PMCID: PMC3674631  PMID: 23241527
4.  On the Wegener granulomatosis associated region on chromosome 6p21.3 
BMC Medical Genetics  2006;7:21.
Background
Wegener granulomatosis (WG) belongs to the heterogeneous group of systemic vasculitides. The multifactorial pathophysiology of WG is supposedly caused by yet unknown environmental influence(s) on the basis of genetic predisposition. The presence of anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) in the plasma of patients and genetic involvement of the human leukocyte antigen system reflect an autoimmune background of the disease. Strong associations were revealed with WG by markers located in the major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC II) region in the vicinity of human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DPB1 and the retinoid X receptor B (RXRB) loci. In order to define the involvement of the 6p21.3 region in WG in more detail this previous population-based association study was expanded here to the respective 3.6 megabase encompassing this region on chromosome 6. The RXRB gene was analysed as well as a splice-site variation of the butyrophilin-like (BTNL2) gene which is also located within the respective region. The latter polymorphism has been evaluated here as it appears as a HLA independent susceptibility factor in another granulomatous disorder, sarcoidosis.
Methods
150–180 German WG patients and a corresponding cohort of healthy controls (n = 100–261) were used in a two-step study. A panel of 94 microsatellites was designed for the initial step using a DNA pooling approach. Markers with significantly differing allele frequencies between patient and control pools were individually genotyped. The RXRB gene was analysed for single strand conformation polymorphisms (SSCP) and restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLP). The splice-site polymorphism in the BTNL2 gene was also investigated by RFLP analysis.
Results
A previously investigated microsatellite (#1.0.3.7, Santa Cruz genome browser (UCSC) May 2004 Freeze localisation: chr6:31257596-34999883), which was used as a positive control, remained associated throughout the whole two-step approach. Yet, no additional evidence for association of other microsatellite markers was found in the entire investigated region. Analysis of the RXRB gene located in the WG associated region revealed associations of two variations (rs10548957 pallelic = 0.02 and rs6531 pallelic = 5.20 × 10-5, OR = 1.88). Several alleles of markers located between HLA-DPB1, SNP rs6531 and microsatellite 1.0.3.7 showed linkage disequilibrium with r2 values exceeding 0.10. Significant differences were not demonstrable for the sarcoidosis associated splice-site variation (rs2076530 pallelic = 0.80) in our WG cohort.
Conclusion
Since a microsatellite flanking the RXRB gene and two intragenic polymorphisms are associated significantly with WG on chromosome 6p21.3, further investigations should be focussed on extensive fine-mapping in this region by densely mapping with additional markers such as SNPs. This strategy may reveal even deeper insights into the genetic contributions of the respective region for the pathogenesis of WG.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-7-21
PMCID: PMC1431512  PMID: 16526951
5.  Association study with Wegener granulomatosis of the human phospholipase Cγ2 gene 
Background
Wegener Granulomatosis (WG) is a multifactorial disease of yet unknown aetiology characterized by granulomata of the respiratory tract and systemic necrotizing vasculitis. Analyses of candidate genes revealed several associations, e.g. with α(1)-antitrypsin, proteinase 3 and with the HLA-DPB1 locus. A mutation in the abnormal limb mutant 5 (ALI5) mouse in the region coding for the hydrophobic ridge loop 3 (HRL3) of the phospholipaseCγ2 (PLCγ-2) gene, corresponding to human PLCγ-2 exon 27, leads to acute and chronic inflammation and granulomatosis. For that reason, we screened exons 11, 12 and 13 coding for the hydrophobic ridge loop 1 and 2 (HRL1 and 2, respectively) and exon 27 of the PLCγ-2 protein by single strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP), sequencing and PCR/ restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analyses. In addition, we screened indirectly for disease association via 4 microsatellites with pooled DNA in the PLCγ-2 gene.
Results
Although a few polymorphisms in these distinct exons were observed, significant differences in allele frequencies were not identified between WG patients and respective controls. In addition, the microsatellite analyses did not reveal a significant difference between our patient and control cohort.
Conclusion
This report does not reveal any hints for an involvement of the PLCγ-2 gene in the pathogenesis of WG in our case-control study.
doi:10.1186/1477-5751-4-1
PMCID: PMC549077  PMID: 15703080
6.  Bactericidal/Permeability-Increasing Protein Is Expressed by Human Dermal Fibroblasts and Upregulated by Interleukin 4 
The bactericidal/permeability-increasing protein (BPI) is an antibiotic- and endotoxin-neutralizing protein of granulocytes and epithelial cells. Constitutive expression of BPI, which increases upon interleukin 4 stimulation, by human dermal fibroblast was demonstrated, suggesting an important role of BPI in gram-negative bacterial clearance and a dampened response to endotoxin in the skin.
doi:10.1128/CDLI.10.3.473-475.2003
PMCID: PMC154976  PMID: 12738651
7.  Heterogeneity of CD4 and CD8+ memory T cells in localized and generalized Wegener's granulomatosis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2002;5(1):R25-R31.
Memory T cells display phenotypic heterogeneity. Surface antigens previously regarded as exclusive markers of naive T cells, such as L-selectin (CD62L), can also be detected on some memory T cells. Moreover, a fraction of CD45RO+ (positive for the short human isoform of CD45) memory T cells reverts to the CD45RA+ (positive for the long human isoform of CD45) phenotype. We analyzed patients with biopsy-proven localized Wegener's granulomatosis (WG) (n = 5), generalized WG (n = 16) and age- and sex-matched healthy controls (n = 13) to further characterize memory T cells in WG. The cell-surface expression of CD45RO, CD45RA, CD62L, CCR3, CCR5 and CXCR3 was determined on blood-derived T cells by four-color flow cytometric analysis. The fractions of CCR5+ and CCR3+ cells within the CD4+CD45RO+ and CD8+CD45RO+ memory T cell populations were significantly expanded in localized and generalized WG. The mean percentage of Th1-type CCR5 expression was higher in localized WG. Upregulated CCR5 and CCR3 expression could also be detected on a fraction of CD45RA+ T cells. CD62L expression was seen on approximately half of the memory T cell populations expressing chemokine receptors. This study demonstrates for the first time that expression of the inducible inflammatory chemokine receptors CCR5 and CCR3 on CD45RO+ memory T cells, as well as on CD45RA+ T cells ('revertants'), contributes to phenotypic heterogeneity in an autoimmune disease, namely WG. Upregulated CCR5 and CCR3 expression suggests that the cells belong to the effector memory T cell population. CCR5 and CCR3 expression on CD4+ and CD8+ memory T cells indicates a potential to respond to chemotactic gradients and might be important in T cell migration contributing to granuloma formation and vasculitis in WG.
doi:10.1186/ar610
PMCID: PMC154430  PMID: 12716450
CD45RA revertant; CD62L; chemokine receptor; effector memory T cell; Wegener's granulomatosis
8.  Wegener's Granulomatosis: Anti–proteinase 3 Antibodies Are Potent Inductors of Human Endothelial Cell Signaling and Leakage Response  
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.
PMCID: PMC2212153  PMID: 9463400

Results 1-8 (8)