Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome-Associated Increased Surface Expression of VLA4 Integrin on Human Monocytes

Biomedicines. 2022 Sep 20;10(10):2341. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines10102341.


Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is a systemic autoimmune disorder characterized by thrombosis and/or obstetric complications in the presence of antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL). Catastrophic APS (CAPS) is the most severe form of the disease, in which microvascular thromboses develop rapidly, leading to multiorgan failure. Monocytes, along with endothelial cells, are critical players in the pathogenesis of APS. Recruitment of these cells to the site of injury/inflammation involves a series of events, including capture, rolling, adhesion enhancement, and transmigration, which are controlled by surface adhesion molecules. The aim of our study was to investigate the surface adhesion profile of monocytes from APS patients and monocytes stimulated in vitro with aPL from a CAPS patient. The surface expression of the adhesion molecules LFA1, L-selectin, MAC1, PSGL1, and VLA4 was analyzed by flow cytometry. To our knowledge, this preliminary study was the first to show that VLA4 was significantly increased on the surface of monocytes from APS patients. Moreover, in vitro stimulations mimicking CAPS showed an even greater increase in VLA4. Our data suggest that the surface adhesion profile on monocytes is altered in APS and CAPS and may be involved in the thrombotic pathophysiology of the disease by enhancing monocyte adhesion.

Keywords: VLA4; adhesion molecules; antiphospholipid syndrome; catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome; integrins; monocytes; selectins.