Twenty-eight out of 62 patients with Wegener's granulomatosis and micropolyarteritis display circulating antiendothelial cell antibodies (AECA) detectable by a cell surface radioimmunoassay. These antibodies do not induce an in vitro endothelial damage either alone or in the presence of fresh complement; however, 50% of IgG-AECA positive sera can be cytotoxic in the presence of human normal peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBM) at high effector/target ratios. The specificity of the PBM-mediated cytotoxicity is supported by the absence of the phenomenon in AECA negative sera, by the disappearance of the lytic effect after absorption of AECA, and by the finding that cellular-mediated cytotoxicity can be reproduced by purified IgG-AECA positive fractions. On the contrary, polymorphonuclear leukocytes or adherent mononuclear cells are not involved in such a cytotoxic activity. AECA seem to be directed against determinants constitutively expressed on the endothelial surface since the activation of endothelial cells by interleukin-1β or interferon-γ affects neither the antibody binding nor their ability to mediate 51Cr release in the presence of PBM. These findings favor the hypothesis for a possible direct pathogenetic role of circulating AECA in the in vivo vascular damage.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine