Anti-neutrophil cytoplasm antibodies in patients with ACR criteria for polyarteritis nodosa: help for systemic vasculitis classification?

Autoimmunity. 1995;20(1):33-7. doi: 10.3109/08916939508993337.


The american college of rheumatology (ACR) proposed in 1990 revised clinical criteria for systemic vasculitis classification to define homogeneous group of patients for clinical trials. However, microscopic polyarteritis (MPA) was not clearly identified from polyarteritis nodosa (PAN). Since anti-neutrophil cytoplasm antibodies (ANCA) are markers of disease activity of small vessel vasculitides including MPA, we tested the clinical significance of ANCA in 24 patients with PAN according to the ACR 1990 criteria. Two of 24 patients had ANCA, as defined by indirect immunofluorescence on normal human neutrophils, antigen-specific ELISA and Western blot analysis. However, they exhibited histologically proven small vessel but not medium vessel vasculitis. Furthermore, they had neither artery microaneurysms nor large organ injury consequent upon large vessel occlusion. Although they satisfied ACR criteria for PAN, they probably were misclassified and should be considered as MPA. We conclude that: (i) ANCA are not found in patients with classical PAN in the absence of MPA features; (ii) caution should be exercised when defining PAN according to the ACR 1990 criteria; (iii) ANCA may help systemic vasculitis classification.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antibodies, Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic
  • Autoantibodies / blood*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cytoplasm / immunology*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Epitopes / analysis
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neutrophils / immunology*
  • Polyarteritis Nodosa / blood
  • Polyarteritis Nodosa / immunology*
  • Vasculitis, Leukocytoclastic, Cutaneous / blood
  • Vasculitis, Leukocytoclastic, Cutaneous / classification*
  • Vasculitis, Leukocytoclastic, Cutaneous / immunology


  • Antibodies, Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic
  • Autoantibodies
  • Biomarkers
  • Epitopes
  • Immunoglobulin G