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Clin Exp Immunol. 2006 Jul;145(1):63-70.

Increased neutrophil membrane expression and plasma level of proteinase 3 in systemic vasculitis are not a consequence of the - 564 A/G promotor polymorphism.

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Department of Nephrology, Clinical Sciences, Lund, Lund University, Sweden.


Several findings link proteinase 3 (PR3) to small vessel vasculitis. Besides being a major target of anti-neutrophil cytoplasm antibodies (ANCA), previous findings have shown increased circulating levels of PR3 in vasculitis patients, increased levels of neutrophil membrane-PR3 (mPR3) expression and a skewed distribution of the - 564 A/G polymorphism in the promotor region of the PR3 gene. In this study we elucidate how these three findings relate to each other. The plasma concentration of PR3 was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), mPR3 expression by fluorescence activated cell sorter (FACS) and the gene polymorphism by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). We compared results from 63 patients with ANCA-associated systemic vasculitis (AASV) with 107 healthy blood donors. In accordance with previous reports, AASV patients had increased plasma concentrations of PR3 compared to healthy controls (mean 224 microg/l versus 155 microg/l, P < 0.0001). They also showed an increased number of mPR3-positive neutrophils (60%versus 42%, P < 0.001). However, contrary to a previous report, we found no skewed distribution of the polymorphism in PR3 gene. There was a weak correlation between mPR3 mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) and plasma PR3 among healthy controls and myeloperoxidase-ANCA (MPO-ANCA)-positive patients (r = 0.24, P = 0.015 and r = 0.52, P = 0.011, respectively). In conclusion, increased plasma PR3 and high expression of mPR3 are associated with small vessel vasculitis, but neither of them is a consequence of the - 564 A/G polymorphism of the PR3 gene promotor.

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