Rare diseases

Inhaled antigens implicated in GPA

Wednesday, 2 Dec 2015


Exposure to dust through farming and gardening may increase the risk of granulomatosis with polyangiitis, according to a study from New Zealand that echoes findings from the Northern Hemisphere.

The case-controlled study of 49 people with GPA and 196 controls found any reported exposure to dust (specifically silica and grain dust) was associated with GPA (OR 3.6).

Occupation as a farm worker was associated with GPA (OR 3.43) and specific gardening activities such as digging were associated with GPA (OR 3.2).

A common link between the risk activities could be exposure to airborne particles, suggested the researchers led by Dr Lisa Stamp from the University of Otago.

“It is possible that inhaled bacterial antigens such as FimH within such particles are aetiopathogeneic, wrote the researchers in Arthritis Research & Therapy.

But the exact mechanism whereby inhaled antigens might contribute to disease remains unclear, the authors said.

“Particularly since GPA is a rare disease and the inhaled environmental exposures are relatively common, suggesting that other factors must be important” they said.

Further studies were needed to elucidate these mechanisms, they concluded. 

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