Neutrophil membrane expression of proteinase 3 (PR3) is related to relapse in PR3-ANCA-associated vasculitis

AA Rarok*, CA Stegeman, PC Limburg, CGM Kallenberg, Agnieszka Rarok

*Corresponding author for this work

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Wegener granulomatosis (WG) is strongly associated with the presence of antineutrophil cytoplasm autoantibodies (ANCA) with specificity for proteinase 3 (PR3). Relapses of WG are frequently preceded by a rise of autoantibody titer and PR3-ANCA are able to activate primed neutrophils in vitro. Except being stored intracellularly and translocated to the cell surface upon neutrophil stimulation, PR3 can also be detected on the surface of non-stimulated neutrophils (membrane PR3 or mPR3), with an interindividual variability in percentages of mPR3(-)-positive cells and level of mPR3 expression. This study began with the hypothesis that the presence of PR3 on the surface of non-stimulated neutrophils enables interaction with PR3-ANCA and influences clinical manifestations of the disease. It analyzed mPR3 expression on neutrophils of 89 WG patients in complete remission and 72 healthy controls to evaluate whether the presence of PR3 on the surface of resting neutrophils is, related to clinical manifestations of WG and/or to the susceptibility to develop relapses. The number of patients with a bimodal mPR3 expression on resting neutrophils did not differ between patients and controls. However, in WG patients, an increased percentage of mPR3(+) neutrophils and an elevated level of mPR3 expression compared with healthy individuals (P = 0.037) were found. Within the group of WG patients, an elevated level of mPR3 expression was significantly associated with an increased risk for relapse (P = 0.021) and with an increased relapse rate, (P = 0.011), but not with the disease extent or particular manifestations at diagnosis or at relapse. These data support the hypothesis that PR3 expression on the membrane of neutrophils plays a role in the pathophysiology of PR3-ANCA associated vasculitis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberUNSP 1046-6673/1309-2232
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep-2002


  • POOL
  • ANCA

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