Vasculitis and infections: Contribution to the issue of autoimmunity reviews devoted to “autoimmunity and infection”
Elsevier BV -- Autoimmun Rev
DOI 10.1016/j.autrev.2008.07.020
  1. Systemic vasculitis
  2. Infection
  3. Wegener’s Granulomatosis
  4. Staphylococcus aureus

Infections are associated with secondary forms of vasculitis. However, there is increasing evidence that microbial agents play a role also in primary systemic vasculitides. For a long time it has been noted that Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is involved in polyarteritis nodosa (PAN) although the incidence of HBV-associated PAN seems to decline. Cryoglobulinemic vasculitis has been shown to be strongly associated with Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infection, but this is most striking in Southern Europe and less in Northern Europe. Different microbial agents have been suggested to influence disease expression in other primary vasculitides but no specific association has been established. In Wegener’s Granulomatosis (WG) chronic carriage of Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is associated with a strongly increased risk for relapsing disease. Various pathogenic pathways for this association have been suggested by clinical and experimental observations. Recent studies even suggest that S. aureus derived peptides, amongst others, may induce proteinase 3-ANCA via idiotypic–anti-idiotypic interactions. Treatment with co-trimoxazole in WG localized to the upper airways may result in (temporary) remission of the disease.