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      Mechanisms of Vasculitis: How Pauci-Immune Is ANCA-Associated Renal Vasculitis?

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          Both the innate and the acquired immune system are involved in the pathophysiology of renal vasculitis. However, anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated renal vasculitis is characterized by a ‘pauci-immune’ pattern of immunofluorescence during kidney biopsy, indicating the relative lack of immunoglobulin and complement deposition within the kidney. On the other hand, evidence is accumulating that ANCA, autoantibodies against constituents of primary granules of neutrophils and the lysosomes of monocytes, play a pathogenic role in renal vasculitis. In this review we will discuss both in vitro and in vivo experimental data providing compelling evidence that ANCA are a primary pathogenic factor in renal vasculitis, mainly by augmenting leukocyte-endothelial interactions. We will also address novel data, pointing at the role of, in addition to ANCA, non-specific proinflammatory signals. Finally, we propose a working hypothesis of the pathogenesis of ANCA-associated renal vasculitis.

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          Most cited references 31

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          Rapidly progressive crescentic glomerulonephritis.

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            Immune complex deposits in ANCA-associated crescentic glomerulonephritis: a study of 126 cases.

            Necrotizing and crescentic glomerulonephritis related to antineutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies (ANCA) is typically referred to as "pauci-immune"; however, it is not unusual for renal biopsies in such cases to exhibit some immune complex deposition within glomeruli on immunofluorescence and/or electron microscopic study. The composition and intraglomerular localization of such deposits in ANCA-glomerulonephritis has not been widely studied, and their potential pathologic and clinical significance is not clear, although a possible synergistic effect between immune complexes and ANCA in producing more severe glomerulonephritis is suggested by some human and animal studies. Electron micrographs from 126 renal biopsies showing necrotizing/crescentic glomerulonephritis characterized by positive ANCA serology [C-ANCA, anti-proteinase 3 (anti-PR3), or anti-myeloperoxidase (MPO)] or necrotizing arteritis in the absence of known ANCA results were examined for the presence, quantity, and location of electron-dense deposits. The presence or absence of such deposits was correlated with histologic findings (fraction of glomeruli with crescents and segmental necrotizing lesions, mesangial and endocapillary hypercellularity), immunofluorescence findings, and clinical data, including serum creatinine and 24-hour urine protein levels at the time of biopsy. Sixty-eight (54%) of these biopsies showed glomerular immune complex deposits on electron microscopy; 87% of the latter also showed positive immunofluorescence findings for at least one immunoglobulin or complement component, although staining was relatively mild in most instances ( 2+). Hypercellularity within the glomerular tuft was seen in 50% of biopsies with deposits on electron microscopy but only 14% of those without deposits; in each group this was usually mild and mesangial. Notably, the presence of deposits on electron microscopy was associated with a higher median level of proteinuria (3.2 versus 1.3 g/24 hours, P < 0.0001) and a higher median percentage of glomeruli with crescents (62.5% versus 44.0%, P= 0.06). Immune complex deposits were found on electron microscopy in just over half of renal biopsies with crescentic glomerulonephritis associated with positive ANCA serology and/or necrotizing arteritis. Clinical correlations suggest that these immune complex deposits may somehow potentiate the effect of ANCA in producing glomerulonephritis.
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              Antiproteinase 3- and antimyeloperoxidase-associated vasculitis.

              Antiproteinase 3- and antimyeloperoxidase-associated vasculitis. Wegener's granulomatosis, microscopic polyangiitis, and idiopathic pauci-immune necrotizing crescentic glomerulonephritis (NCGN) are strongly associated with antineutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies (ANCAs) directed against either proteinase 3 (anti-PR3) or myeloperoxidase (anti-MPO). This has led some investigators to prefer combining these diseases under the common heading of ANCA-associated vasculitides. However, it is increasingly recognized that there are characteristic differences between patients with anti-PR3 and those with anti-MPO-associated vasculitis. This review focuses on the clinical, histopathologic, and possibly pathophysiologic differences between anti-PR3- and anti-MPO-associated vasculitis. Although there is considerable overlap, the anti-PR3- and anti-MPO-associated vasculitides are each characterized by particular clinical and histopathological findings. Extrarenal organ manifestations and respiratory tract granulomas occur more frequently in patients with anti-PR3 than in those with anti-MPO. Anti-PR3-positive patients with NCGN generally have a more dramatic deterioration of their renal function compared with anti-MPO-positive patients. The term "ANCA-associated vasculitis" is considered as a useful concept in the presence of systemic vasculitis. Likewise, in the presence of vasculitis, the terms "anti-PR3-associated vasculitis" and "anti-MPO-associated vasculitis" are useful concepts.

                Author and article information

                Nephron Exp Nephrol
                Cardiorenal Medicine
                S. Karger AG
                December 2006
                13 November 2006
                : 105
                : 1
                : e10-e16
                aDepartment of Clinical and Experimental Immunology, Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht, University Maastricht, Maastricht, bDepartment of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Medical Biology Section, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
                96960 Nephron Exp Nephrol 2007;105:e10–e16
                © 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Figures: 1, Tables: 1, References: 44, Pages: 1
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