Lupus pregnancy. A prospective study of placental changes

Arthritis Rheum. 1988 Mar;31(3):358-66. doi: 10.1002/art.1780310307.


Eleven patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) were monitored prospectively during pregnancy. Clinical and serologic features of disease activity were recorded, and after delivery, a careful search for pathologic changes in the placenta was carried out. Seven patients delivered live infants, and 4 patients had unsuccessful pregnancies, with fetal loss occurring between 12 and 27 weeks of gestation. One of these 4 patients had active SLE at delivery, and all had circulating lupus anticoagulant and thrombocytopenia. Other serologic abnormalities, including anticardiolipin and anti-Ro antibodies, were not associated with fetal loss. The overall placental size was reduced in SLE patients compared with that in healthy controls and in diabetic controls. A variety of pathologic changes were noted, including placental infarction, intraplacental hematoma, deposition of immunoglobulin and complement, and thickening of the trophoblast basement membrane. The reduction in placental size appeared to enhance the clinical significance of these pathologic changes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies / analysis
  • Autoantibodies / analysis
  • Blood Coagulation Factors / analysis
  • Blood Coagulation Factors / immunology
  • Complement System Proteins / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lupus Coagulation Inhibitor
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / pathology*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / physiopathology
  • Organ Size
  • Phospholipids / immunology
  • Placenta / pathology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Thrombocytopenia / complications


  • Antibodies
  • Autoantibodies
  • Blood Coagulation Factors
  • Lupus Coagulation Inhibitor
  • Phospholipids
  • Complement System Proteins