Chronic nasal carriage of the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus in patients with the autoimmune disease granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) is a risk factor for disease relapse. To date, it was neither known whether GPA patients show similar humoral immune responses to S. aureus as healthy carriers, nor whether specific S. aureus types are associated with GPA. Therefore, this study was aimed at assessing humoral immune responses of GPA patients against S. aureus antigens in relation to the genetic diversity of their nasal S. aureus isolates. A retrospective cohort study was conducted, including 85 GPA patients and 18 healthy controls (HC). Humoral immune responses against S. aureus were investigated by determining serum IgG levels against 59 S. aureus antigens. Unexpectedly, patient sera contained lower anti-staphylococcal IgG levels than sera from HC, regardless of the patients' treatment, while total IgG levels were similar or higher. Furthermore, 210 S. aureus isolates obtained from GPA patients were characterized by different typing approaches. This showed that the S. aureus population of GPA patients is highly diverse and mirrors the general S. aureus population. Our combined findings imply that GPA patients are less capable of mounting a potentially protective antibody response to S. aureus than healthy individuals.
- NASAL CARRIAGE