What is the pathophysiology of urticarial vasculitis?

Updated: Jun 07, 2018
  • Author: Darius Mehregan, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
  • Print
Answer

The pathophysiology of urticarial vasculitis is similar to other forms of cutaneous small vessel leukocytoclastic vasculitis. Urticarial vasculitis is a type III hypersensitivity reaction in which antigen-antibody complexes are deposited in the vascular lumina. This reaction results in complement activation and chemotaxis of neutrophils. These cells release various proteolytic enzymes, such as collagenase and elastase, resulting in damage to the vascular lumina. Some authors have speculated that eosinophils may be involved in the early stages of the vasculitic lesions. Patients with hypocomplementemic urticarial vasculitis are more likely to show autoantibodies to C1q and vascular endothelial cells. [8, 9] The presence of antineutrophilic cytoplasmic antibodies is rare. Many patients ultimately prove to have SLE. Other etiologies include drug reactions and parasitic infections. [10]


Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!