Beta 2-glycoprotein I (beta2-GPI) is an antigenic target recognised by antiphospholipid antibodies found in association with the antiphospholipid syndrome (APS). In this study, the prevalence of Immunoglobulin M (IgM) and IgA anti-beta2-GPI antibodies was examined in APS patients and compared with IgG antibodies. In addition the value of measuring antibody isotypes and IgG subclass was investigated in the laboratory diagnosis of APS. A solid phase enzyme linked immunosorbent assay was established to measure IgG, IgM and IgA and IgG subclass antibodies to beta2-GPI in patients with APS and a variety of other thrombotic and non-thrombotic disorders. Raised levels of IgM anti-beta2-GPI antibodies were observed in 65% of patients with APS, 21% with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), 23% with rheumatoid factor, 4% with stroke, 5% carotid artery stenosis (CAS), 17% with a biological false positive serology for syphilis, 43% with infectious mononucleosis (IM) and 27% with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The median value for IgM antibodies to beta2-GPI for all these groups ranged from 2 to 7 arbitrary units (AU). Elevated levels of IgA antibodies to beta2-GPI were found in patients with APS (47%), SLE (13%), rheumatoid factor (26%), CAS (48%), stroke (25%), VDRL false positive serology for syphilis (33%), IM (47%) and HIV (7%). The median value of IgA antibodies to beta2-GPI in all of these groups ranged from 2 to 4 AU. Conversely the median value for IgG anti-beta2-GPI in APS patients was 112 AU compared to 1-4 AU in the other conditions examined. The presence of IgM and IgA antibodies to beta2-GPI was much less specific and sensitive for APS than IgG, with raised levels of these isotypes seen in a variety of thrombotic and non-thrombotic disorders. Elevated levels of IgG1, IgG2, IgG3 and IgG4 antibodies to beta2-GPI were detected in APS patients. While all four IgG anti-beta2-GPI antibody subclasses were represented in APS patients there appeared to be a significant overall skewing towards to the IgG2 subclass.