Objective: To assess the ability of anti-proteinase 3 (anti-PR3) classic antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (cANCA) to stimulate endothelial expression of tissue factor (TF), which is the main initiator of the coagulation cascade that can lead to endothelial injury and thrombosis in patients with Wegener's granulomatosis.
Methods: Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) were grown to confluence and stimulated with affinity-purified anti-PR3 antibodies, Igs from healthy subjects, and endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide) as positive control.
Results: TF activity was generated in anti-PR3-stimulated cells, as shown by a chromogenic test. This activity was inhibited by specific anti-TF antibodies. TF messenger RNA (mRNA) was found in anti-PR3-stimulated cells, as detected by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, but not in cells stimulated with irrelevant human Igs or Igs from normal control sera. TF expression reached maximum levels 12 hours after exposure to the anti-PR3 cANCA, and did not require complement. TF mRNA expression was inhibited by cycloheximide, suggesting a requirement for protein synthesis. When added to the incubation medium, interleukin-1 (IL-1) receptor antagonist inhibited the induced TF mRNA expression, suggesting that cANCA-stimulated cells initiate IL-1 synthesis. Moreover, cANCA induced IL-1alpha mRNA before TF mRNA.
Conclusion: This study showed that anti-PR3 treatment of HUVEC induces sequential expression of IL-1alpha mRNA and TF mRNA, as well as their corresponding proteins. Both proteins could have pathogenic roles in the vasculitic process, since TF is the main initiator of the coagulation cascade.