Pathogenetic Aspects of Autoantibodies to Endothelial Cells in Systemic Vasculitis
The vascular endothelium is no longer considered to be little more than a passive, semipermeable, thrombo-resistant membrane which lines blood vessels. It is now clearly apparent because of the major advances in endothelial cell culture techniques (1) that the endothelium constitutes a dynamic interface between the blood and the rest of the body. Autoantibodies that recognise antigens on endothelial cells (AECA) have been described in many disorders with obvious vascular pathology (2–7). AECA have been detected by their ability to bind to cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) growing on plastic ELISA plates, or detected using functional assays, in which the end point is monocyte, neutrophil, or complement-dependent cytolysis. Recently, several groups (8–10), including are own (11), have reported the presence of AECA in ANCA positive Wegener’s granulomatosis (WG) and microscopic polyarteritis (MPA). However, little is known of the target autoantigens in systemic vasculitis or whether these antibodies are of pathogenetic significance. Therefore the aim of this study was to determine in more detail the relationship between AECA, ANCA and disease activity in patients with WG or MPA.
KeywordsHuman Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cell Kawasaki Disease Systemic Vasculitis Mixed Connective Tissue Disease Line Blood Vessel
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