Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitides (AAV) are a group of pauci-immune small vessel vasculitides that often affect the kidneys manifesting as rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis. Although the exact pathogenesis of AAV is not fully known, evidence from in vitro, in vivo and clinical studies all point to the involvement of ANCA in the pathogenesis of AAV. In this review, we highlight the contributory roles played by various factors (e.g. genetics, environment, B and T-regulatory cells, toll-like receptors, etc.) in the pathogenesis of AAV. Furthermore, we discuss renal involvement in AAV in terms of clinical features and the various histopathological classification patterns, which are also known to be of prognostic importance. We also present information on useful imaging techniques for localizing kidney and other organ system involvement in AAV, and also on novel laboratory methods and assays useful for rapid and more specific determination of patients' ANCA status. Finally, we demonstrate evidence on novel serum biomarkers that have been shown to correlate with disease activity in AAV.
Keywords: antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitis; immunoassays; pathogenesis; renal histopathology; serum biomarkers.