NEW METHODOLOGY TO IDENTIFY POTENTIAL ENVIRONMENTAL TRIGGERS FOR ANCA-ASSOCIATED VASCULITIDES
Beins, Kaley Elizabeth
Milton, Donald K.
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A series of rare autoimmune disorders that affect the blood vessels, vasculitis is chronic and potentially deadly. Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis (AAV) comprise three diagnostic forms of this autoimmune disorder: granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA), microscopic polyangiitis (MPA), and eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA or Churg-Strauss syndrome). The limited resources available to vasculitis researchers have been mostly targeted toward treatment and relapse prediction with a small amount of research examining genetic and environmental etiologic factors. Therefore, additional research is needed to understand the role of gene-environment interactions in AAV etiology. This thesis reviews the current body of AAV literature with a focus on candidate genes, occupational and environmental exposures, and the hygiene hypothesis. It also designs an original survey and study methodology to further investigate these etiologic factors. A better understanding of AAV etiology will lead to prevention and improved treatment of these costly diseases.