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Front Immunol. 2014 Nov 3;5:549. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2014.00549. eCollection 2014.

Eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis: an overview.

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Unit of Nephrology, University Hospital of Parma , Parma , Italy.


Eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA) is a multisystemic disorder, belonging to the small vessel anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis, defined as an eosinophil-rich and necrotizing granulomatous inflammation often involving the respiratory tract, and necrotizing vasculitis predominantly affecting small to medium-sized vessels, associated with asthma and eosinophilia. EGPA pathogenesis is not well known: HLA-DRB1*04 and *07, HLA-DRB4 and IL10.2 haplotype of the IL-10 promoter gene are the most studied genetic determinants. Among the acquired pathogenetic factors, the exposure to different allergens, infections, vaccinations, drugs, and silica exposure have been involved. Eosinophils are the most characteristic cells in EGPA and different studies have demonstrated their role as effector and immunoregulatory cells. EGPA is considered as a disease with a prevalent activation of the Th-2 cellular-mediated inflammatory response and also humoral immunity plays an important role. A link between B and T inflammatory responses may explain different disease features. EGPA typically develops into three sequential phases: the allergic phase, distinguished by the occurrence of asthma, allergic rhinitis, and sinusitis, the eosinophilic phase, in which the main pathological finding is the eosinophilic organ infiltrations (e.g., lungs, heart, and gastrointestinal system), and the vasculitic phase, characterized by purpura, peripheral neuropathy, and constitutional symptoms. ANCA (especially pANCA anti-myeloperoxidase) are present in 40-60% of the patients. An elevation of IgG4 is frequently found. Corticosteroids and cyclophosphamide are classically used for remission induction, while azathioprine and methotrexate are the therapeutic options for remission maintenance. B-cell depletion with rituximab has shown promising results for remission induction.


ANCA-associated vasculitis; eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis; eosinophils; vascular diseases; vasculitis

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