Objectives. To evaluate the prevalence and association of antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) and their subtypes [proteinase 3 (PR3)-ANCA, myeloperoxidase (MPO)-ANCA] with distinct clinical features in various clinicopathological syndromes. Methods. All consecutive ANCA-positive patients seen at the combined unit for rheumatology for Bad Bramstedt and the University of Lübeck between 1989 and 1999 were analysed. ANCA were detected by an immunofluorescence technique and ANCA subspecificities were determined by ELISA. Clinical features at presentation and diagnoses were recorded according to standardized procedures. Results. Among 4620 patients tested, 333 were cytoplasmic ANCA-positive and 291 were perinuclear ANCA-positive. cANCA/PR3-ANCA were strongly associated with Wegener's granulomatosis (WG), whereas pANCA/MPO-ANCA were associated with a diverse disease spectrum. Further investigation of PR3-ANCA-positive (n = 80) and MPO-ANCA-positive patients (n = 40) revealed a greater extent of disease [disease extent index (DEI); median 8 vs 5, P < 0.01] and more frequent involvement of the upper/lower respiratory tract and the eyes in PR3-ANCA-positive than in MPO-ANCA-positive patients. Fewer than 5% of WG patients were MPO-ANCA-positive. Compared with matched PR3-ANCA-positive WG patients, the MPO-ANCA-positive WG patients had a lower DEI (median 5 vs 8) and had a lower frequency of peripheral neuropathy. Conclusions. ANCA testing is useful due to its high sensitivity and specificity, especially for cANCA/PR3-ANCA in WG. We found a divergence in the disease spectrum between PR3- and MPO-ANCA-positive patients, characterized by higher DEI and extrarenal manifestations in the PR3-ANCA group. MPO-ANCA was rarely found in WG and was associated with less organ involvement.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)