The prevalence and biologic significance of lupus anticoagulant and anticardiolipin antibodies in a general obstetric population

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1989 Aug;161(2):369-73. doi: 10.1016/0002-9378(89)90522-x.


Circulating antibodies to negatively-charged phospholipids have been implicated in the genesis of adverse pregnancy outcomes. However, it has yet to be established that these antibodies are causative or that they are invariably associated with untoward perinatal outcomes. To address this issue, the prevalence of lupus anticoagulant and anticardiolipin antibodies was recorded in a low-risk obstetric population, and the outcome of untreated pregnancies were evaluated. Two of 737 patients (0.27%) had lupus anticoagulant documented by a prolonged activated partial thromboplastin time that did not correct this mixing studies. In comparison, greatly elevated concentrations of immunoglobulin M-anticardiolipin antibodies or immunoglobulin G-anticardiolipin antibodies were identified in 16/737 (2.2%) patients by means of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Spontaneous abortions occurred in both lupus anticoagulant-positive patients, suggesting that the activated partial thromboplastin time used was a relatively insensitive but specific marker for antiphospholipid antibody-associated adverse pregnancy outcomes. In contrast, although 12 of 16 anticardiolipin antibodies-positive pregnancies were complicated by perinatal loss, preterm delivery, or fetal growth retardation, four patients had uncomplicated pregnancies. Moreover, the distribution of anticardiolipin antibodies concentrations in these four patients was not clustered among the lowest anticardiolipin antibodies values, and anticardiolipin antibodies concentrations correlated weakly with adverse outcomes. These findings suggest that antiphospholipid antibodies are related to adverse pregnancy outcomes in a complex fashion and that therapy is not always required for acceptable outcomes in patients without other risk factors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autoantibodies / analysis*
  • Blood Coagulation Factors / analysis
  • Blood Coagulation Factors / immunology*
  • Cardiolipins / immunology*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin M / analysis
  • Lupus Coagulation Inhibitor
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology*
  • Partial Thromboplastin Time
  • Phospholipids / analysis*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / immunology*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Risk Factors


  • Autoantibodies
  • Blood Coagulation Factors
  • Cardiolipins
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • Lupus Coagulation Inhibitor
  • Phospholipids