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Blood. 2010 Mar 18;115(11):2292-9. doi: 10.1182/blood-2009-04-213520. Epub 2009 Nov 30.

Hydroxychloroquine protects the annexin A5 anticoagulant shield from disruption by antiphospholipid antibodies: evidence for a novel effect for an old antimalarial drug.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10467, USA.


Annexin A5 (AnxA5) is a potent anticoagulant protein that crystallizes over phospholipid bilayers (PLBs), blocking their availability for coagulation reactions. Antiphospholipid antibodies disrupt AnxA5 binding, thereby accelerating coagulation reactions. This disruption may contribute to thrombosis and miscarriages in the antiphospholipid syndrome (APS). We investigated whether the antimalarial drug, hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), might affect this prothrombotic mechanism. Binding of AnxA5 to PLBs was measured with labeled AnxA5 and also imaged with atomic force microscopy. Immunoglobulin G levels, AnxA5, and plasma coagulation times were measured on cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells and a syncytialized trophoblast cell line. AnxA5 anticoagulant activities of APS patient plasmas were also determined. HCQ reversed the effect of antiphospholipid antibodies on AnxA5 and restored AnxA5 binding to PLBs, an effect corroborated by atomic force microscopy. Similar reversals of antiphospholipid-induced abnormalities were measured on the surfaces of human umbilical vein endothelial cells and syncytialized trophoblast cell lines, wherein HCQ reduced the binding of antiphospholipid antibodies, increased cell-surface AnxA5 concentrations, and prolonged plasma coagulation to control levels. In addition, HCQ increased the AnxA5 anticoagulant activities of APS patient plasmas. In conclusion, HCQ reversed antiphospholipid-mediated disruptions of AnxA5 on PLBs and cultured cells, and in APS patient plasmas. These results support the concept of novel therapeutic approaches that address specific APS disease mechanisms.

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