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      Overview of the Pathogenesis of ANCA-Associated Vasculitis

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          Background: Antineutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies (ANCA) are associated with a spectrum of necrotizing vasculitis including granulomatosis with polyangiitis, microscopic polyangiitis, eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis, and renal-limited necrotizing and crescentic glomerulonephritis. Clinical observations and in vitro and in vivo experimental evidence strongly indicate that ANCA are pathogenic. Summary: The etiology and pathogenesis of ANCA-associated vasculitis (AAV) are multifactorial, with contributions from genetic factors, environmental exposures, infections, characteristics of the innate and adaptive immune system, and the intensity and duration of the injury. Acute vascular inflammation is induced when resting neutrophils that have ANCA autoantigens sequestered in cytoplasmic granules are exposed to priming factors - for example, cytokines induced by infection or phlogogenic factors released by complement activation - that cause the release of ANCA antigens on the surface of neutrophils and in the microenvironment around the neutrophils. ANCA bind to these ANCA antigens, which activates neutrophils by Fcγ receptor engagement and F(ab′)<sub>2</sub> binding at the neutrophil cell surface. ANCA-activated neutrophils release factors that activate the alternative complement pathway, which generates C5a, a chemoattractant for neutrophils; C5a also primes the arriving neutrophils for activation by ANCA. Activated neutrophils adhere to and penetrate vessel walls, and they release toxic oxygen radicals and destructive enzymes that cause apoptosis and necrosis of the neutrophils as well as of the adjacent vessel wall cells and matrix. Key Messages: Patients with active AAV have ongoing asynchronous onsets of countless acute lesions, with each lesion evolving through stereotypical phases within 1 or 2 weeks. Induction of remission results in termination of new waves of acute lesions and allows all lesions to progress to scarring or resolution.

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          Most cited references 68

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          Randomized trial of plasma exchange or high-dosage methylprednisolone as adjunctive therapy for severe renal vasculitis.

          Systemic vasculitis associated with autoantibodies to neutrophil cytoplasmic antigens (ANCA) is the most frequent cause of rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis. Renal failure at presentation carries an increased risk for ESRD and death despite immunosuppressive therapy. This study investigated whether the addition of plasma exchange was more effective than intravenous methylprednisolone in the achievement of renal recovery in those who presented with a serum creatinine >500 micromol/L (5.8 mg/dl). A total of 137 patients with a new diagnosis of ANCA-associated systemic vasculitis confirmed by renal biopsy and serum creatinine >500 micromol/L (5.8 mg/dl) were randomly assigned to receive seven plasma exchanges (n = 70) or 3000 mg of intravenous methylprednisolone (n = 67). Both groups received oral cyclophosphamide and oral prednisolone. The primary end point was dialysis independence at 3 mo. Secondary end points included renal and patient survival at 1 yr and severe adverse event rates. At 3 mo, 33 (49%) of 67 after intravenous methylprednisolone compared with 48 (69%) or 70 after plasma exchange were alive and independent of dialysis (95% confidence interval for the difference 18 to 35%; P = 0.02). As compared with intravenous methylprednisolone, plasma exchange was associated with a reduction in risk for progression to ESRD of 24% (95% confidence interval 6.1 to 41%), from 43 to 19%, at 12 mo. Patient survival and severe adverse event rates at 1 yr were 51 (76%) of 67 and 32 of 67 (48%) in the intravenous methylprednisolone group and 51 (73%) of 70 and 35 of (50%) 70 in the plasma exchange group, respectively. Plasma exchange increased the rate of renal recovery in ANCA-associated systemic vasculitis that presented with renal failure when compared with intravenous methylprednisolone. Patient survival and severe adverse event rates were similar in both groups.
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            Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies induce neutrophils to degranulate and produce oxygen radicals in vitro.

            Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies (ANCA) are in the circulation of most patients with pauci-immune necrotizing vasculitis and pauci-immune crescentic glomerulonephritis. The current study demonstrates an effect of these autoantibodies on neutrophil function in vitro. ANCA cause normal human neutrophils to undergo an oxidative burst and degranulate. Both ANCA phenotypes (i.e., cytoplasmic-pattern ANCA and myeloperoxidase-specific ANCA) induce neutrophil activation. ANCA sera and purified immunoglobulins significantly increase the release of reactive oxygen species when compared with controls. ANCA, in a dose-dependent manner, induce the release of primary granule contents. These effects are markedly enhanced by priming neutrophils with tumor necrosis factor. Flow cytometry studies demonstrate the presence of myeloperoxidase on the surface of neutrophils after cytokine priming, indicating that primed neutrophils have ANCA antigens at their surfaces to interact with ANCA. These observations suggest an in vivo pathogenetic role for ANCA. We propose that, in patients with necrotizing vasculitis, ANCA-induced release of toxic oxygen radicals and noxious granule enzymes from cytokine-primed neutrophils could be mediating vascular inflammation.
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              Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies with specificity for myeloperoxidase in patients with systemic vasculitis and idiopathic necrotizing and crescentic glomerulonephritis.

              Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies have been found in patients with systemic arteritis and glomerulonephritis. We studied the disease distribution and antigen specificity of these autoantibodies. Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies were identified by indirect immunofluorescence microscopy in 27 of 35 patients with idiopathic necrotizing and crescentic glomerulonephritis, in whom the manifestations of disease ranged from injury limited to the kidney to systemic arteritis. The incidence and titers of the autoantibodies did not differ between patients with disease limited to the kidney and those with systemic disease. Anti-neutrophil immunostaining was detected in 5 of 11 patients with lupus nephritis, 4 of 71 patients with other renal diseases, and none of 50 normal controls. This distribution of autoantibodies was confirmed by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using neutrophil lysate as antigen. According to ELISA, anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies were found to be specific for constituents of primary granules. Two types of autoantibodies were identified; one with reactivity with myeloperoxidase on ELISA produced an artifactual perinuclear immunostaining of alcohol-fixed neutrophils, and another with no reactivity with myeloperoxidase on ELISA produced diffuse cytoplasmic immunostaining. The presence of the same serologic marker in patients with kidney-limited and arteritis-associated necrotizing and crescentic glomerulonephritis, including Wegener's granulomatosis and polyarteritis nodosa, suggests that these clinically diverse diseases may have a similar pathogenesis, initiated by autoantibody-mediated activation of neutrophils.

                Author and article information

                Kidney Diseases
                S. Karger AG
                March 2016
                03 December 2015
                : 1
                : 4
                : 205-215
                Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, N.C., USA
                Author notes
                *J. Charles Jennette, MD, Kenneth M. Brinkhous Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 308 Brinkhous-Bullitt Building, CB#7525, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7525 (USA), E-Mail jcj@med.unc.edu
                442323 PMC4934824 Kidney Dis 2015;1:205-215
                © 2015 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 3, References: 83, Pages: 11
                Vasculitis: Review


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