Change of serum B-cell activating factor level in patients with positive antiphospholipid antibodies and previous adverse pregnancy outcomes and its significance

Chin Med J (Engl). 2020 Oct 5;133(19):2287-2294. doi: 10.1097/CM9.0000000000000948.


Background: B-cell activating factor (BAFF) is vital for B cell survival. Serum BAFF levels are elevated in thrombotic antiphospholipid syndrome, but little is known about levels in patients with positive antiphospholipid antibodies (aPLs) and previous adverse pregnancy outcomes (APOs). We aimed to analyze serum BAFF concentrations of these patients in early pregnancy along with different pregnancy outcomes.

Methods: Thirty-six pregnant patients positive for aPLs and previous APOs (patient group), 25 healthy pregnant females (HP group) and 35 healthy non-pregnant females (HNP group) from the Peking University Third Hospital, between October 2018 and March 2019, were enrolled in this study. Serum of HNP and serum of patients as well as HP in the first gestational trimester were collected. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kits were used to measure serum BAFF and interferon-alpha (IFN-α) concentrations. Cytometric bead array analysis was used to measure serum concentrations of cytokines. The patient group was further divided into APOs and non-APOs (NAPOs) group, fetal loss and live birth group according to pregnancy outcomes. The Mann-Whitney U-test was used to assess significance between and within groups. Spearman rank-order was used to evaluate correlation coefficients between BAFF and related cytokines.

Results: The serum BAFF level in HP group was significantly lower than HNP group (245.24 [218.80, 265.90] vs. 326.94 [267.31, 414.80] pg/mL, Z = -3.966, P < 0.001). The BAFF level was obviously elevated in patient group compared to that in HP group (307.77 [219.86, 415.65] vs. 245.24 [218.80, 265.90] pg/mL, Z = -2.464, P = 0.013). BAFF levels in APOs group tended to be higher than that in NAPOs group (416.52 [307.07, 511.12] vs. 259.37 [203.59, 375.81] pg/mL, Z = -2.718, P = 0.006). Compared to HP group, concentrations of IFN-α, interleukin (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor were higher in patient group (33.37 [18.85, 48.12] vs. 13.10 [6.85, 25.47] pg/mL, Z = -2.023, P = 0.043; 39.16 [4.41, 195.87] vs. 3.37 [2.92, 3.90] pg/mL, Z = -3.650, P < 0.001; 8.23 [2.27, 64.46] vs. 1.53 [1.25, 2.31] pg/mL, Z = -3.604, P < 0.001, respectively). Serum BAFF levels had a positive correlation with the concentrations of both IL-6 and IL-10 (IL-6: r = 0.525, P = 0.002; IL-10: r = 0.438, P = 0.012).

Conclusions: Serum BAFF levels are increased in patients with positive aPLs and previous APOs as compared to healthy pregnant females and tend to be higher in individuals with current APOs. The BAFF levels have a positive correlation with serum IL-6 and IL-10.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Antiphospholipid
  • B-Cell Activating Factor*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-4
  • Interleukins
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome*


  • Antibodies, Antiphospholipid
  • B-Cell Activating Factor
  • Interleukins
  • Interleukin-4