Study Title: “Analyses of antibodies, biomarkers and microbiome in relation to genetic markers in pre-clinical individuals developing antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody associated vasculitis.”
Investigator: Solbritt Rantapää Dahlqvist, MD, PhD
Co-investigators: Ewa Berglin, MD, PhD; Johanna Dahlqvist, MD, PhD; Ingegerd Johansson, DDS, PhD; Linda Johansson, PhD
Institution: Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
ANCA-associated vasculitis (AAV) is a group of diseases involving small blood vessels with chronic inflammation in different locations throughout the body. AAV (antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody) diseases include granulomatosis with polyangiitis, eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis, and microscopic polyangiitis. These diseases are rare but severe—even potentially life-threatening.
The underlying cause and progression of chronic inflammation in AAV is not fully understood, but it is considered an autoimmune response, which occurs when the body’s natural defense system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues. In the case of AAV, the antibodies PR3 or MPO attack the individual’s own proteins. Some genetic factors are related to these diseases, and bacterial infections may play a role, however more study is needed.
Solbritt Rantapää Dahlqvist, MD, PhD, of Sweden hopes to learn more about the development of disease progression that leads to AAV in a new study funded by the Vasculitis Foundation. She recently received a two-year, $100,000 research grant from the VF for her study, “Analyses of antibodies, biomarkers and microbiome in relation to genetic markers in pre-clinical individuals developing antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody associated vasculitis.”
Dr. Dahlqvist, principal investigator of the study, is Professor of Rheumatology at the Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, at Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden. Her co-investigators are: Ewa Berglin, MD, PhD, Johanna Dahlqvist, MD, PhD, Ingegerd Johansson, DDS, PhD, and Linda Johansson, PhD.
“In this study, we will investigate the underlying mechanisms and processes leading to AAV,” says Dr. Dahlqvist. Disease progression will be analyzed using blood serum samples donated to Swedish national registers and biobanks by individuals before they had developed any symptoms of AAV.
The researchers will then analyze the samples for the presence and levels of autoantibodies; antibodies against a panel of bacteria; proteins in blood as a sign of inflammation, and also potential genetic material (DNA) from bacteria. The results from the analyses will be compared with corresponding results from control subjects sampled at the same time and biobank, but without development of AAV.
“As most patients who are affected with AAV in Sweden have already participated in a genetic project, we will have access to genetic background data enabling evaluation of contribution to autoantibodies, protein profiles and bacterial antibodies in the disease developmental process,” Dr. Dahlqvist explains.
“This study will bring forward a unique possibility to increase knowledge about the development and progression in the early phases of AAV exhibiting possible early targets for new treatments.”