Ferritin in the antiphospholipid syndrome and its catastrophic variant (cAPS)

N. Agmon-Levin, C. Rosário, B. S.Porat Katz, G. Zandman-Goddard, P. Meroni, R. Cervera, L. Stojanovich, M. Blank, S. S. Pierangeli, S. Praprotnik, E. De Meis, L. Parente Seguro, A. Ruffatti, V. Pengo, A. Tincani, A. Doria, Y. Shoenfeld*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Ferritin is an iron storage protein considered also as an acute phase reactant with high levels in various inflammatory conditions. Recently, a plausible role for ferritin in the pathogenesis of immune-mediated and especially autoimmune diseases has been suggested. However, the link between ferritin and the antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) has been rarely explored. Therefore, in the current study we evaluated ferritin levels and their correlation to clinical and serological manifestations in patients with APS. We further analyzed ferritin levels among patients with the catastrophic variant of APS (cAPS). Methods: Ferritin levels were determined in serum samples of 176 APS patients and 98 matched healthy controls according to age and sex (LIAISON, DiaSorin, Italy). APS samples were further analyzed for antiphospholipid (anti-cardiolipin, anti- beta-2-glycoprotein, lupus anticoagulant) and anti-infectious antibodies (CMV, EBV, rubella, toxoplasma, HBV) (LIAISON, DiaSorin, Italy). Clinical, serological and demographic manifestations were recorded. An additional analysis of ferritin levels among 14 patients with cAPS was performed. Results: Hyperferritinemia was present in 9% vs. 0% of APS patients and controls, respectively (p0.001). Among patients with APS, ferritin levels correlated with venous thrombosis, cardiac, neurological, and hematological manifestations and the presence of anti-CMV-IgM antibodies. Hyperferritinemia was present in 71% of cAPS patients, and ferritin levels among this subgroup were significantly higher compared with APS-non-cAPS patients (816±847 ng/ml vs. 120±230 ng/ml, p0.001). Conclusions: Herein, we found that hyperferritinemia correlates with the presence of APS, its clinical manifestations and specifically with the catastrophic variant of this disease. Hyperferritinemia was also linked with anti-CMV antibodies among patients with APS. These associations allude to a pathogenic role of ferritin in the pathogenesis of APS, and the plausible role of ferritin as a marker of ensuing cAPS, although further studies are needed to elucidate these associations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1327-1335
Number of pages9
Issue number13
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • CMV
  • Ferritin
  • anti-cardiolipin
  • antiphospholipid syndrome
  • autoimmunity
  • catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome
  • hyperferritinemia


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