Objective: To characterize the binding and functional properties of antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL) induced by immunization with a viral peptide and to determine whether aPL are pathogenic in vivo.
Methods: Ten murine monoclonal aPL were generated from spleen cells of PL/J mice immunized with TIFI, a phospholipid-binding peptide spanning Thr(101)-Thr(120) of ULB0-HCMVA from human cytomegalovirus (CMV), which shares structural similarity with the phospholipid-binding site of beta(2)-glycoprotein I (beta(2)GPI).
Results: The antibodies generated had aPL activity that was inhibited by cardiolipin liposomes, and this inhibition was enhanced in the presence of beta(2)GPI. Some of the antibodies exhibited binding to cultured endothelial cells in vitro, and some had lupus anticoagulant activity. Injection with 2 of the monoclonal aPL in mice resulted in a significant increase in the number of leukocytes adhering to endothelial cells and enhanced thrombus formation in vivo.
Conclusion: These results indicate that aPL induced by immunization with a phospholipid-binding CMV peptide are pathogenic in vivo. The results also suggest a mechanism (molecular mimicry) by which pathogenic aPL may be generated in patients with antiphospholipid syndrome.