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Lancet. 2006 Jul 29;368(9533):404-18.

Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital Clínic, Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.


Much like other autoantibodies (eg, anti-double stranded DNA in systemic lupus erythematosus or antiglomerular basement membrane antibodies in Goodpasture's syndrome), antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) have provided doctors with a useful serological test to assist in diagnosis of small-vessel vasculitides, including Wegener's granulomatosis, microscopic polyangiitis, Churg-Strauss syndrome, and their localised forms (eg, pauci-immune necrotising and crescentic glomerulonephritis). 85-95% of patients with Wegener's granulomatosis, microscopic polyangiitis, and pauci-immune necrotising and crescentic glomerulonephritis have serum ANCA. ANCA directed to either proteinase 3 or myeloperoxidase are clinically relevant, yet the relevance of other ANCA remains unknown. Besides their diagnostic potential, ANCA might be valuable in disease monitoring. In addition, data seem to confirm the long-disputed pathogenic role of these antibodies. Present treatments for ANCA-associated vasculitis are not free from side-effects and as many as 50% of patients relapse within 5 years. Accurate understanding of the key pathogenic points of ANCA-associated vasculitis can undoubtedly provide a more rational therapeutic approach.

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