Objective: Wegener's granulomatosis (WG) and microscopic polyangiitis (MPA) have been reported to be pathologically and clinically different. The aim of this study was to assess whether these differences could be explained by differing abilities of proteinase 3-antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (PR3-ANCA)-positive IgG preparations or myeloperoxidase-ANCA (MPO-ANCA)-positive IgG preparations to activate neutrophils (polymorphonuclear cells [PMN]) in vitro.
Methods: Using Percoll density gradients, PMN were isolated (concentration 2 x 10(6)/ml) and primed with cytochalasin B (1 ng/ml) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha; 2 ng/ml). The PMN were activated with 200 microg/ml of normal IgG or ANCA. Activation was determined by 1) superoxide anion generation as determined by the superoxide dismutase-inhibitable reduction of ferricytochrome c, 2) monitoring fluxes in Ca2+ concentration using Fura 2-AM-loaded PMN, and 3) degranulation using an MPO assay. Surface expression of PR3 and MPO was determined by fluorescence-activated cell sorter analysis. ANCA isotypes were investigated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Results: Activation of PMN by MPO-ANCA-positive IgG preparations compared with PR3-ANCA-positive IgG preparations resulted in greater generation of superoxide anions (MPO-ANCA-positive IgG preparations 9.13 +/- 0.39 nmoles [mean +/- SEM], PR3-ANCA-positive IgG preparations 6.32 +/- 0.35 nmoles; P < 0.001), Ca2+ fluxes (MPO-ANCA-positive IgG preparations 0.735 +/- 0.10, PR3-ANCA-positive IgG preparations 0.33 +/- 0.098; P < 0.01), and MPO degranulation (MPO-ANCA-positive IgG preparations 251.98 +/- 26.7 ng, PR3-ANCA-positive IgG preparations 145.19 +/- 19.4 ng; P < 0.001). The increased activation seen with MPO-ANCA-positive IgG preparations was not due to increased expression of MPO on the cell surface, because following TNFalpha priming PR3 was expressed on significantly more cells than was MPO (PR3 expression 54.2 +/- 5.18%, MPO 31.6 +/- 3.55%; P < 0.001). IgG1 and IgG4 were the predominant isotypes in both MPO-ANCA-positive IgG preparations and PR3-ANCA. MPO-ANCA contained significantly more IgG1 than did PR3-ANCA, and PR3-ANCA-positive IgG preparations contained significantly more IgG3.
Conclusion: In vitro MPO-ANCA-positive IgG preparations are more activating than PR3-ANCA-positive IgG preparations. The increased activation cannot be explained by increased MPO expression on the cell surface or greater IgG3 present in MPO-ANCA-positive IgG preparations. Differences in activation of PMN by these antibodies may determine some differences between WG and MPA.