BAFF (B-cell activating factor of the TNF family) plays a crucial role in B-cell survival. Elevated BAFF serum levels have been linked to several autoimmune diseases in humans, and therapies targeting BAFF were successful in animal models of rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus. Wagener's granulomatosis (WG), a chronic systemic vasculitis, is characterized by circulating autoantibodies (cANCA) targeting neutrophils, which can produce BAFF. To investigate whether BAFF is involved in WG pathology, BAFF serum levels were measured by ELISA in 46 WG patients and 62 healthy donors. We report the novel finding that in WG patients serum levels of BAFF were significantly increased (median 3.95 ng/ml, p = 0.009) compared to healthy controls (median 2.38 ng/ml). The difference was even more pronounced when comparing controls with untreated WG patients (median 4.61 ng/ml, p = 0.001). Treatment of WG patients with glucocorticoids was associated with lower BAFF levels. The serum BAFF level in treated WG patients was about the same as in the control group. We propose that BAFF might be a pathogenic factor in WG and that targeting BAFF may represent a new therapeutic strategy in a subset of chronically relapsing WG patients with elevated BAFF levels.
- B-cell activating factor of TNF family (BAFF)
- Wegener's granulomatosis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy