Crosslinking of ANCA-antigens stimulates superoxide release by human neutrophils


  • R. Kettritz
  • J.C. Jennette
  • R.J. Falk


  • Journal of the American Society of Nephrology


  • J Am Soc Nephrol 8 (3): 386-394


  • Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) activate primed human polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN) in vitro, resulting in a respiratory burst and degranulation. In this study, the hypotheses that the initiation of this process requires engagement of the F(ab')2 portion of ANCA, and that crosslinking of ANCA target antigens is necessary to trigger superoxide (O2-) release, were explored. It is speculated that Fc gamma receptor engagement is a modulator of ANCA-mediated activation. Flow cytometry demonstrated that intact human ANCA immunoglobulin (Ig), their corresponding F(ab')2 and Fab fragments, as well as a murine monoclonal to human PR3 and its F(ab')2 fragment, bind to ANCA antigens on the surface of PMN primed with tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha. Intact Ig of patients with PR3-ANCA or with MPO-ANCA stimulate O2- release from TNF alpha-primed normal PMN (2.6 +/- 3.57 to 15.3 +/- 7.39 nmol O2-/2.5 x 10(6) PMN/30 min). Corresponding F(ab')2 fragments result in similar O2- production (10.2 +/- 4.34 to 36.9 nmol) in a dose-dependent manner. ANCA Fab fragments do not stimulate O2- generation until these fragments are crosslinked with F(ab')2 of goat anti-human Ig F(ab')2, or when fragments are biotinylated and crosslinked with avidin. In contrast with these human autoantibody data, a mouse monoclonal anti-human PR3 antibody (25.7 +/- 8.55 nmol O2-), but not its corresponding F(ab')2 fragment, activates TNF alpha-treated human PMN. When the Fc gamma IIa receptors were blocked, superoxide production was reduced by 33% using human PR3-ANCA Ig (P < 0.05). In conclusion, PMN activation by ANCA occurs when intact ANCA or ANCA F(ab')2 fragments crosslink target antigens on the neutrophil cell surface. ANCA F(ab') fragments result in PMN activation when crosslinked by secondary reagents.