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Lupus. 2009 Sep;18(10):924-9. doi: 10.1177/0961203309106916.

European Forum on Antiphospholipid Antibodies: research in progress.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Milan, IRCCS Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Milan, Italy.


The research projects of the European Forum on Antiphospholipid Antibodies are representative of how dynamic is this area of investigation. The present review is focused on the most recent projects of the Forum on the aetiopathogenic aspects of the antiphospholipid syndrome (APS). Studies on the genetic background of the APS are ongoing in order to better define the proximity between APS and full-blown systemic lupus erythematosus. However, the analysis of the polymorphisms of genes coding for inflammatory mediators may offer new information on the role of inflammatory processes in triggering thrombotic events as well as the whole susceptibility for developing the vascular manifestations. A systematic and wide detection of serological markers of infectious processes will give new insight on the role of infectious agents in favouring autoimmunity in APS. Owing to the well-known role of vitamin D(3) defect in autoimmune disease, the detection of vitamin plasma levels in APS patients will offer the rationale for a possible therapeutic supplementation. Additional projects are aimed to better characterize the diagnostic/prognostic value of antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL) by defining their epitope specificity and binding avidity. Pregnancy complications represent the obstetric side of APS. Research projects are focussed on the role of complement activation in placenta damage and on the potential ability of aPL to affect the fertility. Finally, a study has been planned in order to draw definitive conclusions on the associations between aPL and atherosclerosis.

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