Objective: To clarify risk factors for the development of clinical features of antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) in patients with anticardiolipin antibodies (aCL) in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Methods: We studied 65 SLE patients, all with positive IgG and/or IgM aCL. Patients were divided into 2 groups; I: 29 SLE patients with features of APS (SLE/APS) and II: 36 aCL positive SLE patients without any feature of APS (SLE/aCL). Serum samples were collected from our serum bank. Anti-beta2-glycoprotein I (anti-beta2-GPI) were tested by ELISA using irradiated plates in the absence of cardiolipin. Anti-dsDNA antibodies were tested by standard Farr assay.
Results: There were no major differences between SLE clinical manifestations in both groups. However, the frequency of IgG anti-beta2-GPI was markedly increased in SLE/APS (18/29, 62%) than in SLE/aCL (4/36, 11%) (chi-squared 18.6, p=0.0001). The levels of anti-dsDNA antibodies in the same samples were slightly lower in SLE/APS.
Conclusion: Our data suggest that increased levels of IgG anti-beta2-GPI may be a specific feature of SLE/APS patients rather than reflecting a polyclonal B cell activation.