Anti-myeloperoxidase autoantibodies are found in association with idiopathic necrotizing glomerulonephritis and systemic vasculitis. It is not known if their presence is an epiphenomen or an integral part of the pathogenic process. To further delineate their hypothesized pathogenicity, we studied their ability to stimulate neutrophils to damage human umbilical vein endothelial cells in vitro. Anti-myeloperoxidase antibodies from human, rabbit and mouse sources were utilized. These antibodies stimulated neutrophils to damage endothelial cells as determined by 51Cr release. The effect was dependent on priming the neutrophils with tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and further enhanced with the addition of endotoxin. The amount of endothelial cell damage was dependent on the dose of anti-myeloperoxidase, the source of the neutrophils, the concentration of TNF, and the presence of endotoxin. Under identical conditions, control antibodies did not stimulate neutrophils to damage endothelial cells. The effect was confirmed by labeling the endothelial cells with 3H-adenine which yielded the same results. These results provide further in vitro evidence that anti-myeloperoxidase autoantibodies may play a significant role in the pathogenesis of idiopathic pauci-immune glomerulonephritis and vasculitis.