Anti-endothelial cell antibodies (AECA) in patients with propylthiouracil (PTU)-induced ANCA positive vasculitis are associated with disease activity

Clin Exp Immunol. 2005 Mar;139(3):569-74. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.2005.02725.x.


Increasing evidence has demonstrated that propylthiouracil (PTU) could induce ANCA positive vasculitis. However, our previous work has suggested that only one-fifth of the PTU-induced ANCA positive patients had clinical vasculitis and so the mechanism is not clear. Anti-endothelial cell antibodies (AECA) have been implicated in the pathogenesis of various vasculitides, including primary ANCA positive systemic vasculitis. The purpose of this study is to investigate the prevalence of AECA and their possible role in the pathogenesis of patients with PTU-induced ANCA positive vasculitis. Sera from 11 patients with PTU-induced ANCA positive vasculitis at both active and quiescent phases, and sera from 10 patients with PTU-induced ANCA but without clinical vasculitis, were studied. Sera from 30 healthy blood donors were collected as normal controls. Soluble proteins from 1% Triton-100 extracted in vitro cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells were used as antigens and an immunoblotting technique was performed to determine the presence of AECA, and their specific target antigens were identified. In patients with PTU-induced ANCA positive vasculitis, 10 of the 11 patients in an active phase of disease were serum IgG-AECA positive and six protein bands of endothelial antigens could be blotted (61 kD, 69 kD, 77 kD, 85 kD, 91 kD and 97 kD). However, in the quiescent phase, seven of the 10 positive sera turned negative. None of the ANCA positive but vasculitis negative patients or normal controls were AECA positive. In conclusion, AECA could be found in sera from patients with PTU-induced ANCA positive vasculitis and were associated more closely with vasculitic disease activity.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic / immunology*
  • Antithyroid Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antithyroid Agents / therapeutic use
  • Blotting, Western / methods
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Endothelial Cells / immunology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Propylthiouracil / adverse effects*
  • Propylthiouracil / therapeutic use
  • Vasculitis / chemically induced*
  • Vasculitis / immunology


  • Antibodies, Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic
  • Antithyroid Agents
  • Propylthiouracil