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Keywords:

  • ANCA;
  • epitope specificity;
  • conformational epitopes;
  • monoclonal antibodies;
  • chimeric molecules

Proteinase 3 (PR3)-anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) and myeloperoxidase (MPO)-ANCA are suggested to play a pathogenic role as they are closely related to the small-vessel vasculitis syndromes, Wegener's granulomatosis and microscopic polyangiitis. A large body of in vitro and animal experiments supports this concept. The mechanisms of action involve a direct interaction between ANCA and its antigen. The epitope specificity of ANCA may therefore influence the functional effects of ANCA and/or may reflect the mechanisms behind different disease manifestations or disease courses.