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Pediatr Res. 2001 Sep;50(3):345-52.

The varicella-autoantibody syndrome.

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Departments of Pediatrics, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, Colorado 80262, USA.


This cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the incidence of autoantibodies to phospholipids and coagulation proteins in children with acute varicella zoster virus (VZV) infection. Study groups included children with VZV alone or complicated by purpura fulminans and/or thromboembolism. VZV naïve children and children who had VZV >1 y before sample collection formed a control group. Blood was assayed for the following: free protein S (PS), protein C, antithrombin, and prothrombin; antibody binding to these proteins; lupus anticoagulant; anticardiolipin antibody; antiphospholipid antibodies; and prothrombin fragment 1+2. Data regarding coinfections was collected. Forty-three VZV-infected children showed an increased frequency of lupus anticoagulant, anticardiolipin antibody, antiphospholipid antibodies, and autoantibodies to PS, protein C, prothrombin, and antithrombin in comparison to 52 children without acute VZV (p < 0.0001). Seventeen children with VZV and purpura fulminans and/or thromboembolism showed a statistically significant decrease in free PS, significantly increased PS IgG antibody, and significantly increased prothrombin fragment 1+2 (p < 0.0001) compared with the group without acute VZV and the group with uncomplicated VZV. Twenty-six children with uncomplicated VZV showed increased PS IgG antibody (p < 0.001) compared with the children without acute VZV. For all groups combined, elevated PS IgG antibody showed negative correlation with free PS (p < 0.0001) and positive correlation with prothrombin fragment 1+2 (p = 0.0002). Autoantibodies were transient. Transient antiphospholipid and coagulation protein autoantibodies were common with VZV infection, but were not predictive of thrombotic complications.

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