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Minerva Urologica e Nefrologica 2009 December;61(4):411-37


language: English

ANCA-associated vasculitis: pathogenesis, novel markers of the disease and emerging therapies

Dhaygude A. 1, Erdbruegger U. 2, Haubitz M. 3, Woywodt A. 1

1 Renal Unit, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, NHS Foundation Trust, Preston, Lancashire, UK 2 Division of Nephrology, University of Virginia at Charlottesville, Charlottesville, VA, USA 3 Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany


Much has been learned in recent years on the pathogenesis of ANCA-associated small-vessel vasculitis. The interaction of primed neutrophils with ANCA and endothelial cells is crucial to the disease. Next we gained a better understanding, from animal models, of the pathogenetic importance of the ANCA antibody. Very recent evidence provides intriguing data regarding the link between infection and vasculitis, LAMP-2 antibodies as novel markers, and NETs as a novel pathogenetic mechanism. It remains to be seen whether others are able to corroborate these findings and whether testing for LAMP-2 antibodies will become part of the clinical routine in vasculitis. Recent years also saw the emergence of various new markers of endothelial damage and the disease itself, such as circulating endothelial cells and endothelial microparticles. These novel markers correlate well with disease activity; they may well complement traditional diagnostic tools, such as ANCA testing. Preliminary evidence has provided some insight into the balance between endothelial damage and repair. Exciting preliminary data also indicate that circulating endothelial cells may not only be markers of disease activity but that these cells may have pathogenetic importance in their own right. These findings may have profound implications for the pathogenesis of vasculitis and vascular disease in general. Recent years also saw the publication of a number of seminal studies for the treatment of ANCA-associated vasculitis. We now have a much better understanding of the role of pulse intravenous cyclophosphamide and plasma exchange than ten or even five years ago. Further studies must now show whether plasma exchange is also beneficial for less severely ill patients with AASV. Finally, as ever, it is hoped that further progress in understanding the disease pathogenesis will also provide more tailored and less toxic therapies.

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