Giant cell arteritis (GCA) and Takayasu arteritis (TAK) are two types of primary large vessel vasculitis (LVV). LVV is an intractable, rare disease with a high relapse rate. Disease progression in asymptomatic patients is an important issue in the clinical management of LVV. Useful biomarkers associated with clinical phenotypes, disease activity, and prognosis may be present in peripheral blood. In this review, we focused on peripheral leukocyte counts, surface markers, functions, and gene expression in LVV patients. In particular, we explored longitudinal changes in circulating immune cell phenotypes during the active phase of the disease and during treatment. The numbers and phenotypes of leukocytes in the peripheral blood were different between LVV and healthy controls, GCA and TAK, LVV in active versus treatment phases, and LVV in treatment responders versus non-responders. Therefore, biomarkers obtained from peripheral blood immune cells may be useful for longitudinal monitoring of disease activity in LVV.
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