ObjectiveTo discover biomarkers involved in the pathophysiology of antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitis (AAV) and to determine whether low-density granulocytes (LDGs) contribute to gene expression signatures in AAV.
MethodsThe source of clinical data and linked biologic specimens was a randomized controlled treatment trial in AAV. RNA sequencing of whole blood from patients with AAV was performed during active disease at the baseline visit and during remission 6 months later. Gene expression was compared between patients who met versus those who did not meet the primary trial outcome of clinical remission at 6 months (responders versus nonresponders). Measurement of neutrophil-related gene expression was confirmed in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) to validate the findings in whole blood. A negative-selection strategy isolated LDGs from PBMC fractions.
ResultsDifferential expression between responders (n=77) and nonresponders (n=35) was detected in 2,346 transcripts at the baseline visit (P
ConclusionIn AAV, increased expression of a granulocyte gene signature is associated with disease activity and decreased response to treatment. The source of this signature is likely LDGs, a potentially pathogenic cell type in AAV.