Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) expression and interaction with proteinase 3 (PR3) in anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis

E. Csernok*, C. H. Szymkowiak, N. Mistry, M. R. Daha, W. L. Gross, J. Kekow

*Corresponding author for this work
70 Citations (Scopus)


TGF-β is a multifunctional cytokine modulating the onset and course of autoimmune diseases as shown in experimental models. The aim of this study was to investigate TGF-β expression in ANCA-associated vasculitis (AAV), and the possible interactions of this cytokine with lysosomal enzymes identified as ANCA autoantigens (e.g. PR3). This included TGF-β effects on the translocation of the lysosomal enzymes to the cell surface of polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN), and the presumed activation of non- bioactive, latent TGF-β by these enzymes. Patients with various types of systemic vasculitis (SV) were studied, including three different types of AAV (Wegener's granulomatosis (WG), Churg Strauss syndrome (CSS) and microscopic polyangiitis (MPA)). Regardless of the type of assay applied, the TGF-β1 isoform was found to be overexpressed in SV, including AAV, and to correlate with disease activity as shown for WG. Mean TGF-β1 plasma levels in AAV patients ranged from 8.9 ng/ml (WG) to 13.3 ng/ml (CSS) (control 4.2 ng/ml; P < 0.01), while TGF-β2 levels were not elevated. Flow cytometry analysis showed TGF-β1 to be a potent translocation factor for PR3 comparable to other neutrophil-activating factors such as IL-8. PR3 membrane expression on primed PMN increased by up to 51% after incubation with TGF-β1. PR3 itself was revealed as a potent activator of latent TGF-β, thus mediating bioeffects of this cytokine. These findings, together with other features of TGF-β such as induction of angiogenesis and its strong chemotactic capacity, indicate that TGF-β might serve as a proinflammatory factor in SV, especially in AAV.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)104-111
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1996

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)


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