A brief history of antiphospholipid antibodies and antiphospholipid syndrome

Henrique Luiz Staub, Lia Portella Staub

Abstract


AIMS: To review the historical reports on antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL) from the early years of the 20th century; to outline the cardinal features of the antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) from 1983 on, including clinical criteria, etiopathogenesis and current therapy.

METHODS: Literature review using PubMed. Articles on the history of aPL and APS were selected.

RESULTS: The original aPL were described in patients with syphilis yet in 1906 by Wassermann. A first definition of lupus anticoagulant was proposed in 1963,while the anticardiolipin antibody (aCL) test was depicted twenty years later. The APS, initially reported by Hughes in 1985as the “aCL syndrome”, is one of the most prevalent acquired thrombophilia. Venous and arterial thrombosis, associated or not to pregnancy morbidity, comprise the main features. It is a novel disorder firstly associated to systemic lupus erythematosus. A primary form of APS was put forward in 1989, and many APS variants are currently known. Lifelong, full-dose anticoagulation is the mainstream for treatment of thrombotic APS. In obstetric APS, the combination of acetil-salicilic acid and enoxoparin has been a mostly effective therapy.

CONCLUSIONS: The sequential characterization of aPL since Wassermann in 1906, and later of the APS in the 1980-thies, is a rather interesting example of how a new entity is sketched step by step. APS is an intriguing novel cause of autoimmune thrombophilia, with a complex pathogenesis and a plethora of clinical and laboratory abnormalities. Treatment is based on life-long anticoagulation.

 


Keywords


anti-phospholipid antibody syndrome; antiphospholipid syndrome; Hughes syndrome; thrombosis; pregnancy complication.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15448/1980-6108.2018.3.31097

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