Antiphospholipid syndrome infectious origin

M. Blank, R. A. Asherson, R. Cervera, Y. Shoenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is characterized by the presence of pathogenic autoantibodies against β2-glycoprotein-I (β2GPI). The factors causing production of anti-β2GPI remain unidentified, but an association with infectious agents has been reported. Studies on experimental APS models proved that molecular mimicry between β2GPI-related synthetic peptides and structures within bacteria, viruses, tetanus toxoid, and CMV are a cause for experimental APS. Any explanation of how microbial infections might set off APS must take into account the observation that all individuals appear to harbor potentially autoreactive lymphocytes, as well as natural antiphospholipid antibodies, but that these cells or antibodies remain innocuous unless somehow activated. Herein, we discuss the association of antiphospholipid antibodies in the infectious state, molecular mimicry as a proposed cause for development of APS, and the contribution of the database to this topic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-23
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004


  • Antiphospholipid syndrome
  • Infection
  • Molecular mimicry
  • β2-glycoprotein-I


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