New autoantigens in the antiphospholipid syndrome

Autoimmun Rev. 2011 Aug;10(10):609-16. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2011.04.011. Epub 2011 Apr 27.


The antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is an autoimmune disease characterized by arterial and venous thrombosis, recurrent miscarriages or fetal loss, and circulating antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL). Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays for anticardiolipin and anti-β2-glycoprotein I antibodies and clotting assays for the lupus anticoagulant are the tests recommended for detecting aPL. However, the aPL are a heterogeneous group of antibodies directed against anionic phospholipids but also toward phospholipid-binding plasma proteins or phospholipid-protein complexes. β2-glycoprotein I (β2GPI) is the playmaker antigen of APS, however during apoptosis, lysophospholipids can become exposed on the cell surface, and mainly through their interaction with β2GPI, they can become targets of aPL. Some CL metabolites are likely to escape from the remodeling cycle. This would account for the progressive loss of mitochondrial CL during apoptosis, as well as for the presence of CL and lyso-CL at the cell surface, where they can interact with β2GPI and become targets of aPL. Other recognized targets of aPL are represented by phosphatidylserine, lyso(bis)phosphatidic acid, Phosphatidylethanolamine, vimentin, and annexin A5. These molecules may allow improving the knowledge on the pathogenesis, and the early identification of APS. Although several studies have shown the presence of antibodies directed against other antigens in APS, their clinical relevance is still a matter of debate, and it needs to be confirmed with experimental data and longitudinal studies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Habitual
  • Antibodies, Antiphospholipid / immunology*
  • Antiphospholipid Syndrome / immunology*
  • Antiphospholipid Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Apoptosis / immunology
  • Autoantigens / immunology*
  • Cardiolipins / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Lysophospholipids / immunology
  • Phosphatidylethanolamines / immunology
  • Phosphatidylserines / immunology
  • Thrombosis
  • beta 2-Glycoprotein I / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Antiphospholipid
  • Autoantigens
  • Cardiolipins
  • Lysophospholipids
  • Phosphatidylethanolamines
  • Phosphatidylserines
  • beta 2-Glycoprotein I
  • phosphatidylethanolamine
  • lysophosphatidic acid