Anti-endothelial cell antibodies (AECA) are a group of immunoglobulins defined by the ability to react with EC, and differ from each other for antigen specificity, ability to bind to surface or intracellular structures, and functional effects. Natural AECA do exist, display in vitro anti-inflammatory action on EC, and probably contribute to the therapeutic activity of high dose intravenous immunoglobulins (IVIg) in several systemic inflammatory disorders. Pathologic AECA are produced in abnormal amount and composition during many diseases associated with endothelial perturbation and various assays have been developed to detect them in both clinical and in vitro studies. The pathogenic role of AECA is suggested by: the distinct characteristics of AECA in single diseases in terms of recognized EC types, antigen specificity and functional effects, the correlation with disease activity in many cases, the ability to damage/activate EC in vitro with several mechanisms, and functioning in vivo animal models of passive and active immunization with AECA. The identification of antigens recognized in single diseases is crucial to improve diagnostic and prognostic relevance of AECA detection and to obtain detailed information on their mechanisms of action.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)