Antiphospholipid syndrome infectious origin

J Clin Immunol. 2004 Jan;24(1):12-23. doi: 10.1023/B:JOCI.0000018058.28764.ce.


Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is characterized by the presence of pathogenic autoantibodies against beta 2-glycoprotein-I (beta 2GPI). The factors causing production of anti-beta 2GPI remain unidentified, but an association with infectious agents has been reported. Studies on experimental APS models proved that molecular mimicry between beta 2GPI-related synthetic peptides and structures within bacteria, viruses, tetanus toxoid, and CMV are a cause for experimental APS. Any explanation of how microbial infections might set off APS must take into account the observation that all individuals appear to harbor potentially autoreactive lymphocytes, as well as natural antiphospholipid antibodies, but that these cells or antibodies remain innocuous unless somehow activated. Herein, we discuss the association of antiphospholipid antibodies in the infectious state, molecular mimicry as a proposed cause for development of APS, and the contribution of the database to this topic.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / immunology
  • Antiphospholipid Syndrome / etiology
  • Antiphospholipid Syndrome / immunology
  • Antiphospholipid Syndrome / microbiology*
  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • Autoantibodies / immunology
  • Communicable Diseases / complications
  • Communicable Diseases / immunology
  • Databases, Protein
  • Epitopes / immunology
  • Glycoproteins / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Cofactor Protein
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / immunology
  • Vaccinia virus / immunology
  • beta 2-Glycoprotein I


  • Antigens, CD
  • Autoantibodies
  • CD46 protein, human
  • Epitopes
  • Glycoproteins
  • Membrane Cofactor Protein
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • beta 2-Glycoprotein I