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Cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide as a serologic marker and potential pathogenic factor in antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitis

Adil Gasim

Author Affiliations

Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7525, USA

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2014, 16:105  doi:10.1186/ar4495

See related research by Zhang et al.

Published: 28 February 2014


Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies are associated with pauci-immune small-vessel vasculitis and crescentic glomerulonephritis. Cathelicidin LL37 is the human member of a family of antimicrobial peptides that are released from activated neutrophils and monocytes at sites of acute inflammation. Zhang and colleagues evaluated serum levels of cathelicidin LL37 and interferon-alpha in patients with antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitis (AAV) and glomerulonephritis. Increased levels of cathelicidin LL37 and interferon-alpha were associated with AAV patients, particularly those with glomerular crescent formation. Cathelicidin LL37 may also be involved in the pathogenesis of AAV and thus could be a target for novel therapy. Cathelicidin LL37 is a promising new biomarker for active AAV, including aggressive crescentic glomerulonephritis, and may prove to be both a prognostic marker and a guide for treatment.