A prospective study of IgG and IgM isotypes of anticardiolipin antibodies (aCL) in a series of 100 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus was carried out. To determine the normal range of both isotype titres a group of 100 normal control serum samples was studied and a log-normal distribution of IgG and IgM isotypes was found. The IgG anticardiolipin antibody serum was regarded as positive if a binding index greater than 2.85 (SD 3.77) was detected and a binding index greater than 4.07 (3.90) was defined as positive for IgM anticardiolipin antibody. Twenty four patients were positive for IgG aCL, 20 for IgM aCL, and 36 for IgG or IgM aCL, or both. IgG aCL were found to have a significant association with thrombosis and thrombocytopenia, and IgM aCL with haemolytic anaemia and neutropenia. Specificity and predictive value for these clinical manifestations increased at moderate and high anticardiolipin antibody titres. In addition, a significant association was found between aCL and the presence of lupus anticoagulant. Identification of these differences in the anticardiolipin antibody isotype associations may improve the clinical usefulness of these tests, and this study confirms the good specificity and predictive value of the anticardiolipin antibody titre for these clinical manifestations.
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