Anti-endothelial cell antibodies in patients with Wegener's granulomatosis and micropolyarteritis

G. Ferraro, P. L. Meroni, A. Tincani, A. Sinico, W. Barcellini, A. Radice, G. Gregorini, M. Froldi, M. O. Borghi, G. Balestrieri

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Anti-endothelial cell antibodies (AECA) have been detected by cell surface radioimmunoassay in nine out of 15 patients with micropolyarteritis (MPA) and in two of five patients with Wegener's granulomatosis. AECA mostly belonged to the IgG isotype and were present in the active phase of the diseases. These antibodies were not detectable in 10 sera from patients with essential mixed cryoglobulinaemia, suggesting that they were not a mere epiphenomenon consequent to the inflammatory vascular injury. The binding activity was not related to ABH antigens or to HLA class I antigens displayed by resting human endothelial cells in culture and was not influenced by removing immune complexes. Absorption of the anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA), present in MPA and Wegener's granulomatosis sera, did not affect the endothelial binding. AECA-positive sera did not display lytic activity against endothelial cells, neither alone nor after addition of fresh complement or normal human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Although AECA are not cytolytic for endothelial cell monolayers in vitro, the reactivity against intact endothelial cells suggest their possible involvement in in vivo pathological processes affecting vascular structures in small vessel primary vasculitides.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-53
Number of pages7
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1990


  • anti-endothelial cell antibodies
  • micropolyarteritis
  • vasculitis
  • Wegener's granulomatosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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