C-ANCA and p-ANCA are tests for the diagnosis of rheumatological diseases. They are also used in evaluation. These conditions are usually caused by a dysfunction in the immune system that triggers an attack on certain tissues that the body perceives as foreign or invading microorganisms or poisons. These autoimmune conditions can be debilitating and cause significant health complications and disability. In particular, c-ANCA and p-ANCA tests help diagnose conditions that cause vasculitis.
ANCA stands for antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies 1 according to Lab Tests Online. These antibodies are accidentally produced by the body to attack its own neutrophils, which are white blood cells that help fight bacterial infections. When viewed under the microscope after staining, c-ANCA tests show the presence of these antibodies in the cytoplasm, the internal microscopic compound that holds neutrophil 1 cells together. The p-ANCA test shows the presence of antineutrophil antibodies around the nucleus. P-ANCA and c-ANCA cells are often seen in conditions such as Wegener’s granulomatosis and other vasculitides. The symptoms of vasculitides differ depending on the vessels and organs affected.
According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Wegener’s granulomatosis usually affects the lungs and kidneys 3. symptoms include sinus pain, bloody fluid from the nose, nasal ulcers, and upper respiratory tract infection symptoms that do not go away with proper treatment. Cough, shortness of breath, and bloody sputum may also occur if the lungs are affected. Kidney involvement usually does not cause noticeable symptoms, but can cause long-term damage. Microscopic polyangitis, another vasculitis detected by ANCA tests, causes kidney inflammation, weight loss, skin lesions, and nerve damage. Treatment of vasculitides often requires a multidisciplinary approach to dealing with the multiple organs affected. Medications include steroids to reduce the inflammation surrounding the blood vessels and immunosuppressants, including drugs such as azathioprine and cyclophosphamide, which aim to control the body’s autoimmune reaction while protecting the patient from the side effects of steroids.