Microthrombotic/microangiopathic manifestations of the antiphospholipid syndrome

Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2009 Jun;36(2-3):109-25. doi: 10.1007/s12016-008-8104-z.


The paper presents an overview of clinical manifestations and histopathologic findings in different organs in microvascular thrombotic and microangiopathic antiphospholipid syndrome (MAPS). Subsets of antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) are presented and defined. Clinico-pathologic correlations seem insufficient so far, because of a lack of detailed systematic studies of the histopathology in different organs. Based on their own autopsy and biopsy studies, the authors propose a novel categorization of histopathologic lesions that occur in patients with classic and catastrophic APS. In addition to the already accepted category of a microvascular thrombotic type of lesions, microangiopathic lesions consistent with thrombotic microangiopathy are proposed to be included in new revised classification criteria for definite APS. Microvascular thrombotic and so far underestimated microangiopathic histopathologic lesions have been shown to appear in various combinations and of different ages in patients with both classic and catastrophic APS, which fits into the concept of MAPS. These preliminary findings of our studies are also in line with the most recent hypothesis of two main mechanisms in the pathogenesis of APS, emphasizing a key role of endothelial cell affection induced by aPL on the one hand and interference with coagulation cascade on the other side.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Antiphospholipid / immunology*
  • Antiphospholipid Syndrome / classification*
  • Antiphospholipid Syndrome / immunology
  • Antiphospholipid Syndrome / pathology
  • Antiphospholipid Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Catastrophic Illness
  • Endothelial Cells / immunology
  • Endothelial Cells / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Purpura, Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic / immunology
  • Purpura, Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic / physiopathology
  • Thrombosis / immunology
  • Thrombosis / physiopathology*


  • Antibodies, Antiphospholipid