Staphylococcus aureus and Wegener's granulomatosis
1 Department of Clinical Immunology, University Hospital Groningen, The Netherlands
2 Department of Nephrology, University Hospital Groningen, The Netherlands
3 Department of Clinical Immunology, University of Maastricht, The Netherlands
Arthritis Res 2002, 4:77-79 doi:10.1186/ar392Published: 26 October 2001
Wegener's granulomatosis (WG) is a form of systemic vasculitis. It is characterized by granulomatous inflammation in the upper and lower airways, vasculitis and necrotizing glomerulonephritis, and is strongly associated with antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies against proteinase 3. Since the etiology of the disease is not clear, treatment, consisting of corticosteroids and immunosuppressives, is nonspecific and associated with severe side effects. Pinpointing the trigger(s) of the disease would highly improve treatment. Clinical evidence shows that an infectious agent, the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus, is a risk factor for disease relapse, suggesting its involvement in the pathogenesis of WG. Here we review both clinical and experimental data that either indicate or support a role for S. aureus in WG.