The infectious origin of anti-phospholipid syndrome

Yehuda Shoenfeld*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The APS was originally described as a triad of venous and arterial thromboses, embolic manifestation, paradoxical thrombocytopenia and recurrent fetal loss. Eventually, during the last two decades the APS became a more systemic disease than systemic lupus erythematosus. One of the questions is whether antiphospholipid antibodies are an epi-phenomenon or have a pathogenic role in APS. Bacterial infections have been associated with the development of catastrophic APS in 26% of a recent series. It should be emphasized that antiphospholipid antibodies has historically been strongly related to infection. The seminal VDRL test (an antibody directed to cardiolipin) was originally related to syphilis and only in patients with SLE was it attributed do a "false positive" reaction. Later it became clear, that both kinds of antibodies may be detected in both conditions - infections and autoimmune diseases. Recently we have summarised the clinical data reporting the notion that "catastrophic" APS is induced in many patients by intercurrent infection. In addition, there are clinical and experimental evidence supporting the infectious etiology of APS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-52
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Application of Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2002


  • "catastrophic" APS
  • APS
  • Anti-phospholipid antibodies
  • Infection
  • β2GBI


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