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Clin Exp Immunol. 1990 May;80(2):171-6.

Heterogeneity of binding reactivity to different phospholipids of antibodies from patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and with syphilis.

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Department of Medicine, Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital, London, England.


The binding specificities were investigated of anti-phospholipid antibodies derived from sera from 55 patients with SLE and related diseases, and from 33 patients with syphilis. Antibodies from both these groups of patients bind strongly to cardiolipin in solid-phase immunoassays, but only antiphospholipid antibodies from patients with autoimmune diseases are associated with thrombotic complications and recurrent spontaneous abortions. IgG anti-phospholipid antibodies from both groups of patients cross-reacted with a range of negatively charged phospholipids, but binding to neutral phospholipids was largely restricted to sera from patients with syphilis. A monoclonal IgM lambda anti-cardiolipin antibody, derived from a patient with autoimmunity, was used to inhibit binding of anti-phospholipid antibodies to cardiolipin and to phosphatidic acid. This antibody inhibited the binding of autoimmune sera to cardiolipin more strongly than sera from syphilis patients, but the converse pattern of inhibition of binding to phosphatidic acid was observed. The VDRL titre correlated with anti-phospholipid antibody activity in sera from syphilis patients, but not from those with autoimmunity. Lupus anti-coagulant activity correlated weakly with IgG antibody levels to each of the negatively charged phospholipids among the patients with autoimmunity. Lupus anticoagulant activity did not correlate uniquely with any anti-phospholipid antibody specificity. These results provide further documentation of the great heterogeneity of anti-phospholipid antibodies associated with autoimmune disease and syphilis.

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