The objective of this study was to research the functionality of anti-endothelial cell antibodies (AECA) in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) by assessing the effects of IgG from AECA-positive PAH patients on the induction of adhesion molecules on human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and on the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines by HUVECs. To achieve this purified IgG from 28 PAH patients were included. IgG from systemic sclerosis (SSc) (n = 58) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) (n = 16) patients without PAH were included as disease controls. Intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) and E-selectin expression on HUVECs, incubated with patient IgG, were quantified by flow cytometry. Production of interleukin (IL)-1beta, -6, -8, and CC chemokine ligand 2 (CCL2) by HUVECs, incubated with patient IgG, were quantified by multiplex flow cytometry. Our results showed that IgG from AECA-positive PAH, SSc and SLE patients induced significantly higher expression of ICAM-1, VCAM-1, and E-selectin and production of IL-6, -8, and CCL2 compared to IgG from AECA-negative patients and IgG from healthy controls. Like in SLE and SSc, IgG from AECA-positive PAH patients can activate endothelial cells to a pro-adhesive and pro-inflammatory state. Therefore, IgG AECA could play a pathogenic role by inducing inflammatory injury of vascular endothelium which is considered a key player in the initiation and progression of PAH.
Arends, S. J., Damoiseaux, J. G., Duijvestijn, A. M., Debrus-Palmans, L., Boomars, K. A., Brunner-La Rocca, H. P., Tervaert, J. W., & van Paassen, P. (2013). Functional implications of IgG anti-endothelial cell antibodies in pulmonary arterial hypertension. Autoimmunity, 46(7), 463-470. https://doi.org/10.3109/08916934.2013.812080