Autoantibodies against bactericidal/permeability-increasing protein in patients with cystic fibrosis

QJM. 1996 Apr;89(4):259-65. doi: 10.1093/qjmed/89.4.259.


Cystic fibrosis (CF), a genetic disorder, is characterized by chronic pulmonary infection/inflammation which leads to respiratory failure. The presence of anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies (ANCA) has previously been observed in the sera of patients with CF. In view of the known relationship of ANCA with primary vasculitis and of their putative pathogenetic role in these disorders, we studied the presence, specificity and isotype of ANCA and their clinical associations in 66 adult CF patients. None of the 66 CF samples had autoantibodies to the major ANCA antigens, proteinase 3 or myeloperoxidase. However, 60/66 (91%) CF samples contained IgG, and 55/66 (83%) IgA, autoantibodies to bactericidal/permeability-increasing protein (BPI), a recently-characterized ANCA specificity. All the IgA anti-BPI-positive samples were also IgG anti-BPI-positive. The autoantibody specificity was confirmed by inhibition assay and immunoblotting of CF sera against a neutrophil granule preparation. Furthermore, in this cross-sectional study, anti-BPI levels were inversely correlated with the observed reductions in FEV1 and FVC (IgA anti-BPI & FEV1: r = -0.508, p < 0.0001), and both IgG and IgA anti-BPI levels were higher in CF patients with secondary vasculitis (n = 6) than in those without (p < 0.05). ANCA with specificity for BPI were present in the majority of CF sera in this study and autoimmune processes may be associated with the development of pulmonary injury in CF.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides
  • Autoantibodies / blood*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Proteins / immunology*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications
  • Cystic Fibrosis / immunology*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / physiopathology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / blood
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins*
  • Vasculitis / complications
  • Vasculitis / immunology


  • Antibodies, Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides
  • Autoantibodies
  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Proteins
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Membrane Proteins
  • bactericidal permeability increasing protein