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Am J Pathol. 1995 Oct;147(4):979-87.

Nuclear localization of the antigen detected by ulcerative colitis-associated perinuclear antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies.

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Diagnostics Division, Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, Illnois, USA.


Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCAs) identified in the serum of 50 to 80% of ulcerative colitis (UC) patients yield a perinuclear staining pattern (pANCA) with alcohol-fixed neutrophils. The ANCAs of UC are distinguishable from those described for Wegener's granulomatosis and other vasculitidies. These various non-UC ANCAs recognize neutrophil granule constituents, but the antigenic moiety specific for the UC pANCA remains unknown. Although the perinuclear nature of some ANCA reactions is an artifact of the alcohol fixation of neutrophils, which causes cytoplasmic granules to redistribute around the nucleus, the UC pANCA reaction has been found not to be similarly affected. We postulated a nuclear localization for the UC-associated pANCA antigen and used both confocal laser microscopy and immunoelectron microscopy to examine the neutrophil reaction of UC-associated pANCA-containing sera. Confocal microscopy revealed a nuclear reaction for 88% (22/25) of the sera with 72% (18/25) showing the reaction localizing to the inner side of the nuclear (membrane) periphery. Immunoelectron microscopy showed that the UC-associated pANCA reaction localized primarily over chromatin concentrated toward the nuclear periphery, although the sera did not recognize double-stranded DNA. These results confirm the nuclear localization of the UC-associated pANCA antigen.

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