Immunization with anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA) induces the production of mouse ANCA and perivascular lymphocyte infiltration

Clin Exp Immunol. 1995 Oct;102(1):120-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.1995.tb06645.x.


Wegener's granulomatosis (WG) is a granulomatous necrotizing vasculitis associated with the presence of ANCA, predominantly directed against proteinase 3 (PR3). The titres of ANCA correlate with disease activity and titre increases may precede disease exacerbations. Previously, we have shown that it is possible to induce autoimmune disease (systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and anti-phospholipid syndrome) in naive mice following active immunization with human autoantibodies, namely anti-DNA and anti-cardiolipin, respectively. The mice developed first anti-autoantibodies and, after about 4 months anti-anti-autoantibodies (Ab3), simulating auto-antibodies (Ab1) in their binding activities, and their presence was associated with the development of disease manifestations, characteristic of the human disease. So far, there is no good animal model for WG. In the current study we have immunized mice with human ANCA with the aim of inducing experimental WG. In two separate studies 30 mice were immunized in their footpads with autoantigen-purified IgG fraction (ANCA) from the sera of two patients with untreated WG, emulsified in Freund's complete adjuvant, followed 3 weeks later by ANCA injection in PBS. In the first experiment mice immunized with ANCA developed sterile microabscesses in the lungs after 8 months, and died after 8-15 months. In the second experiment, mice immunized with ANCA developed after 4 months mouse ANCA, with specificity both to PR3 and to myeloperoxidase, as well as anti-endothelial autoantibodies (AECA), as shown by radioimmunoprecipitation. Pathologically, the immunized mice developed proteinuria but not haematuria, and histological sections of the lungs demonstrated mononuclear perivascular infiltration, while diffuse granular deposition of immunoglobulins was noted in the kidneys. Our results point to a pathogenic role of ANCA in WG, and confirm the importance of the idiotypic network in the etiopathogenesis of autoimmune conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic
  • Autoantibodies / biosynthesis
  • Autoantibodies / immunology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / immunology
  • Female
  • Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis / immunology*
  • Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunization
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • Kidney / immunology
  • Lymphocytes / pathology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C


  • Antibodies, Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic
  • Autoantibodies
  • Immunoglobulin G