OBJECTIVE--Antiphospholipid antibody (aPL) specificity for aPL-related events was evaluated in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). METHODS--A study was carried out on 105 patients affected with SLE comparing the prevalence of lupus anticoagulant (LA) and IgG and IgM anticardiolipin antibodies (aCL) between patients with and without features of antiphospholipid syndrome (APS). Antiphospholipid antibody profile was subsequently evaluated in the aPL positive patients with and without aPL-related events, thus excluding the patients with complications of APS possibly due to factors other than aPL. RESULTS--LA showed a strong association with thrombosis and livedo reticularis, and IgG aCL with thrombosis and neurological disorders, while no clinical features were associated with IgM aCL. A considerable number of aPL positive patients with no aPL-related manifestations was also observed, suggesting the low specificity of aPL assays (54.4%). When studying the 60 aPL positive patients, LA was specific (91.3%) for the diagnosis of aPL-related thrombosis, whereas aCL were not specific, although IgG aCL mean levels were higher in patients with arterial thrombosis than in those without APS features. CONCLUSIONS--LA but not aCL positivity is a specific tool for the diagnosis of thrombotic complications due to aPL in SLE.
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