Objective: To assess the phospholipid specificity and immunoglobulin isotype of antiphospholipid (aPL) antibodies in patients with acute parvovirus B19 infection.
Methods: Specificity of aPL and isotype distribution in the negatively charged phospholipids, cardiolipin and phosphatidyl serine, and in the neutral phospholipid, phosphatidyl ethanolamine, were measured in the sera of patients with acute parvovirus B19 infections (n = 12), in those with other acute viral infections (n = 10), and in those with syphilis (n = 15) by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. The dependence of anticardiolipin (aCL) binding on the presence of beta 2-glycoprotein I (beta 2-GPI) as a binding cofactor was assessed in these same groups, and was compared with sera from systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients (n = 11) with raised aCL antibody reactivity.
Results: Antibodies against any of the 3 phospholipids were found in all 3 groups of patients with infections (B19 in 11 of 12 patients, other viral infections in 8 of 10 patients, and syphilis in 14 of 15 patients). B19 patients' sera contained predominantly IgG antibodies against the negatively charged phospholipids, cardiolipin and phosphatidyl serine, and differed in their specificity and isotype distribution from those found in the other 2 patient groups. B19-associated aCL increased their binding to antigen in the presence of beta 2-GPI as a binding cofactor, similar to aCL found in SLE patients, but unlike antibodies from patients with other viral infections or from those with syphilis.
Conclusion: The results show the remarkable similarity in specificity of aPL antibodies between B19-infected patients and SLE patients, and raise the question of whether parvovirus infection may be a trigger for the development of aPL antibodies in autoimmune diseases.