Autoantibodies in systemic vasculitis

Aust N Z J Med. 1991 Aug;21(4):433-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1445-5994.1991.tb01347.x.


We have studied 495 sera that were referred to us from patients suspected on clinical and/or histological grounds to have a small vessel vasculitis. These sera were tested for antibodies against neutrophil cytoplasm antigens (anti-neutrophil cytoplasm antibodies, ANCA) using assays based on neutrophil acid extract, myeloperoxidase and elastase. Such antibodies are commonly found in Wegener's granulomatosis (WG) and microscopic polyarteritis (MPA), and sometimes in other small vessel vasculitides. One hundred and twenty-six of these sera (25%) were positive in the acid extract ELISA, 68 (14%) in the assay for anti-myeloperoxidase antibodies and 35 (16%) in the assay for anti-elastase antibodies. A total of 166 sera (34%) were positive for antibodies against neutrophil cytoplasm constituents. No ANCA, anti-myeloperoxidase or anti-elastase antibodies were detected in 26 convalescent sera from patients either with WG or MPA, or who had previously been positive. The mean time between positive and negative sera was eight weeks (range three weeks to six months) and three out of three who relapsed again developed ANCA of the same specificity as the original sera. Of the 228 sera also tested for anti-GBM antibodies, 13 (5.7%) were positive. All these contained antibodies against neutrophil cytoplasm constituents (three against the acid extract, eight against myeloperoxidase and two against elastase). Forty-nine of the 74 sera (66%) tested for ANA were positive. Twenty-nine (39%) had a speckled and 20 (27%) had a homogeneous pattern.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / analysis
  • Autoantibodies / analysis*
  • Basement Membrane / immunology
  • Cytoplasm / immunology
  • Endopeptidases / immunology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Humans
  • Kidney Glomerulus / immunology
  • Neutrophils / enzymology
  • Neutrophils / immunology
  • Pancreatic Elastase / immunology
  • Peroxidase / immunology
  • Vasculitis / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Autoantibodies
  • Peroxidase
  • Endopeptidases
  • Pancreatic Elastase