JOURNAL ARTICLE

Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies, autoimmune neutropenia, and vasculitis

Peter C Grayson, J Mark Sloan, John L Niles, Paul A Monach, Peter A Merkel
Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism 2011, 41 (3): 424-33
21507463

OBJECTIVES: Reports of an association between antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) and autoimmune neutropenia have rarely included cases of proven vasculitis. A case of ANCA-associated vasculitis (AAV) with recurrent neutropenia is described and relevant literature on the association between ANCA, neutropenia, and vasculitis is reviewed.

METHODS: Longitudinal clinical assessments and laboratory findings are described in a patient with AAV and recurrent episodes of profound neutropenia from December 2008 to October 2010. A PubMed database search of the medical literature was performed for articles published from 1960 through October 2010 to identify all reported cases of ANCA and neutropenia.

RESULTS: A 49-year-old man developed recurrent neutropenia, periodic fevers, arthritis, biopsy-proven cutaneous vasculitis, sensorineural hearing loss, epididymitis, and positive tests for ANCA with specificity for antibodies to both proteinase 3 and myeloperoxidase. Antineutrophil membrane antibodies were detected during an acute neutropenic phase and were not detectable in a postrecovery sample, whereas ANCA titers did not seem to correlate with neutropenia. An association between ANCA and neutropenia has been reported in 74 cases from 24 studies in the context of drug/toxin exposure, underlying autoimmune disease, or chronic neutropenia without underlying autoimmune disease. In these cases, the presence of atypical ANCA patterns and other antibodies were common; however, vasculitis was uncommon and when it occurred was usually limited to the skin and in cases of underlying toxin exposure.

CONCLUSIONS: ANCA is associated with autoimmune neutropenia, but systemic vasculitis rarely occurs in association with ANCA and neutropenia. The interaction between neutrophils and ANCA may provide insight into understanding both autoimmune neutropenia and AAV.

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