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Nat Clin Pract Rheumatol. 2008 Apr;4(4):192-9. doi: 10.1038/ncprheum0740. Epub 2008 Feb 19.

Mechanisms of disease: antiphospholipid antibodies-from clinical association to pathologic mechanism.

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Department of Plasma Proteins/Blood coagulation at Sanquin Research, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The discovery that antiphospholipid antibodies recognize plasma proteins that bind to phospholipids rather than recognizing phospholipids themselves has been a major advance in research into antiphospholipid syndrome (APS). It is now established that beta2-glycoprotein I (beta2 GPI) is the most important antigen for antiphospholipid antibodies. However, the possible pathologic mechanism is still much debated. This is mainly because not all patients with anti-beta2 GPI antibodies show clinical symptoms that are related to APS. Several reports indicate that anti-beta2 GPI antibodies with lupus anticoagulant (LA) activity are clinically of much importance. Most patients with LA caused by anti-beta2 GPI antibodies suffer from thrombosis as a result of recognition of the first domain of beta2 GPI by these antibodies. In the search for a pathologic mechanism that might explain the high occurrence of thrombosis in patients with anti-domain I antibodies (LA-causing anti-beta2 GPI antibodies), it was found that these antibodies show increased resistance to the anticoagulant activity of annexin A5. We have shown that the same population of antibodies also displays increased resistance to activated protein C. Owing to the diversity of clinical symptoms related to APS, it is likely that other pathologic mechanisms also contribute to the occurrence of APS-related symptoms.

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