The interface of multiple sclerosis and antiphospholipid antibodies

Joab Chapman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The interface between multiple sclerosis (MS) and the antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is of great clinical relevance and may also shed some light on their pathogenesis. Although formal diagnostic criteria of these two immune syndromes are ostensibly mutually exclusive, many patients with subcortical white matter brain lesions share features of both MS and APS. The main diagnostic feature of APS, the antiphospholipid antibodies (aPLAb), is relatively common in multiple sclerosis and increased fibrin deposition is a feature of both APS lesions and MS plaques. A closer examination of the clinical and laboratory data reveals, however, fundamental differences between the syndromes: MS is a diffuse disease of white matter compared to a much more patchy disease in APS as demonstrated by recent studies in imaging and electrophysiology. Furthermore, a closer examination of the specific aPLAb profile reveals significant differences: we have found that although aPLAb were common in MS patients (32%), these antibodies did not depend on the presence of serum factors for binding to phospholipids and none of the MS patients had antibodies to β2-glycoprotein-I (β2-GPI), the major autoantigen in APS. Animal models of the two syndromes are induced by very different antigens and may serve to assess overlapping pathogenic mechanisms. The most common treatment used in MS are β-interferons which theoretically may exacerbate APS, while anticoagulation, the mainstay of APS treatment, is of unknown value in MS. The relationship of MS to APS remains to be clarified by focused large collaborative studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-481
Number of pages5
JournalThrombosis Research
Issue number5-6 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - 2004


  • APS
  • Antiphospholipid antibodies
  • Antiphospholipid syndrome
  • Brain imaging
  • MRI
  • MS
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • aPLAb
  • antiphospholipid antibodies
  • antiphospholipid syndrome
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • multiple sclerosis
  • β2-GPI
  • β2-glycoprotein-I


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