Circulating immune profile in granulomatosis with polyangiitis reveals distinct patterns related to disease activity

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Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) is an autoimmune disorder characterized by recurrent relapses that can cause severe tissue damage and life-threatening organ dysfunction. Multiple immune cells and cytokines/chemokines are involved in the different stages of the disease. Immune profiling of patients may be useful for tracking disease activity, however, reliable immune signatures for GPA activity are lacking. In this study, we examined circulating immune profiles in GPA patients during active and remission disease states to identify potential immune patterns associated with disease activity. The distribution and phenotypic characteristics of major circulating immune cells, and the profiles of circulating cytokines/chemokines, were studied on cryopreserved peripheral blood mononuclear cells from GPA patients (active, n = 20; remission, n = 20) and healthy controls (n = 20) leveraging a 40-color optimized multicolor immunofluorescence panel (OMIP-69) and in serum using a 46-plex Luminex multiplex assay, respectively. Deep phenotyping uncovered a distinct composition of major circulating immune cells in active GPA and GPA in remission, with the most significant findings emerging within the monocyte compartment. Our detailed analysis revealed circulating monocyte diversity beyond the conventional monocyte subsets. We identified eight classical monocyte populations, two intermediate monocyte populations, and one non-classical monocyte population. Notably, active GPA had a higher frequency of CD45RA +CCR5 +CCR6 -CCR7 +/lowCD127 -HLA-DR +CD2 - classical monocytes and a lower frequency of CD45RA -CCR5 -/lowCCR6 -CCR7 -CD127 -HLA-DR +CD2 +/- classical monocytes, which both strongly correlated with disease activity. Furthermore, serum levels of CXCL1, CXCL2, and CCL20, all linked to monocyte biology, were elevated in active GPA and correlated strongly with disease activity. These findings shed light on the circulating immune profile of GPA and may lead to immune signature profiles for assessing disease activity. Monocytes in particular may be studied further as potential markers for monitoring GPA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103236
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Autoimmunity
Early online date30-Apr-2024
Publication statusPublished - Jun-2024


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