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J Autoimmun. 2002 May;18(3):239-50.

Vitronectin- and fibronectin-containing immune complexes in primary systemic vasculitis.

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University of Kiel, Germany.


In primary systemic vasculitis anti endothelial cell autoantibodies (AECA) have been described frequently. They represent a heterogeneous group of autoantibodies whose target antigens are mostly unknown. We tried to find AECA-antigens by a co-operative binding assay with a panel of monoclonal antibodies (mAb) directed to human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) and extracellular matrix proteins. The mAb were used to bind antigens from lysate of endothelial cells, and binding of human antibodies to these antigens was measured. mAb directed to Vitronectin (VN) and Fibronectin (FN) resulted in enhanced binding of antibodies in sera from patients with Churg Strauss Syndrome (CSS) and Wegener's Granulomatosis (WG) compared to normal sera. Neither free autoantibodies against VN or FN could be detected nor did the addition of endothelial cell lysate influence the binding activity from the patients' sera. This suggests that preformed VN and FN-containing immune complexes (IC) are present in the patient sera. The amount of IC was decreased by incubation with HUVEC, demonstrating that these IC can bind to endothelial cells. However, their involvement in the pathogenesis of the disease is not clearly defined. Our data suggest that there are preformed IC present in sera of patients with CSS and WG that contain VN and FN and bind to endothelial cells.

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