Activation of endothelial cells by antiphospholipid antibodies--a possible mechanism triggering thrombosis in patients with antiphospholipid syndrome.
OBJECTIVE To test the hypotheses that some thrombin-reactive anticardiolipin antibodies (aCL) may bind to protein C (PC) and/or activated PC (APC), and that some of the PC- and APC-reactive aCL may inhibit PC activation and/or the function of APC. METHODS We studied the reactivity of patient-derived monoclonal aCL with PC and APC. We examined the effects of the reactive antibodies on PC activation and on the activity of APC in plasma coagulation. RESULTS Five of 5 patient-derived, thrombin-reactive monoclonal aCL bound to PC and APC. In addition, 1 patient-derived monoclonal antiprothrombin antibody (APT) that displayed aCL activity and reacted with thrombin also bound to PC and APC. Of these 6 PC- and APC-reactive aCL/APT, all failed to inhibit PC activation, but 1 (CL15) shortened the plasma coagulation time in the presence of exogenous APC and thus inhibited the anticoagulant function of APC. CONCLUSION Most of the thrombin-reactive aCL in patients with antiphospholipid syndrome may bind to PC and APC. Of the APC-reactive aCL, some (like CL15) may inhibit the anticoagulant function of APC and are thus likely to be prothrombotic in the host.