Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) against bactericidal/permeability-increasing protein (BPI) and cystic fibrosis lung disease

Clin Exp Immunol. 1999 Sep;117(3):561-7. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2249.1999.01006.x.


Persistent infection with Pseudomonas aeruginosa and inflammatory mechanisms play an important role in cystic fibrosis (CF) lung disease. ANCA against BPI, a potent host defence protein with anti-bacterial and anti-endotoxin properties, have been described in CF. We have assessed the relationship of anti-BPI antibodies to pulmonary disease severity in 148 CF subjects. IgA and IgG anti-BPI antibodies were found in 55.4% and 70.3% of CF patients, respectively, and higher levels were strongly associated with colonization with P. aeruginosa (P = 0.001 and 0.039 for IgA and IgG antibodies, respectively). IgA and IgG anti-BPI antibodies were independently associated with more severe lung disease as assessed by chest radiograph score (P = 0.023) and a significantly lower forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1)% (P = 0.01). The pathophysiological relevance of the autoantibodies was investigated further by determining their epitope specificity and their effect on bacterial phagocytosis in vitro. Both isotypes of anti-BPI antibodies were specific for the C-terminus of BPI shown recently to be important for BPI-mediated opsonization, and in vitro affinity-purified anti-BPI antibodies significantly reduced BPI-induced phagocytosis of Escherichia coli compared with controls. These data indicate that anti-BPI autoantibodies are associated with colonization with P. aeruginosa and worse lung disease in CF. The inhibition of bacterial phagocytosis suggests that these autoantibodies may contribute to the persistence of P. aeruginosa in the CF lung and so play a role in perpetuating CF lung damage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic / blood
  • Antibodies, Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic / immunology*
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides
  • Blood Proteins / immunology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cystic Fibrosis / immunology*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / microbiology
  • Cystic Fibrosis / physiopathology
  • Epitope Mapping
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Isotypes / immunology
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / immunology
  • Vasculitis / immunology
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin / immunology


  • Antibodies, Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides
  • Blood Proteins
  • Immunoglobulin Isotypes
  • Membrane Proteins
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin
  • bactericidal permeability increasing protein