Antiphospholipid antibodies (or APA) are a type of protein produced by white blood cells. Antibodies serve to protect us from foreign particles, such as bacteria and viruses. Sometimes when the immune system is activated and starts producing these antibodies, it may come to an abnormality, causing it to keep producing them even after the infection has been removed. That way, the antibodies will continue to attack the healthy cells in the body, causing damage and triggering other autoimmune disease.
After we look at some basic facts
Antiphospholipid antibodies – types and tests
Antiphospholipid antibodies cause the narrowing of blood vessels and blood clotting (or thrombosis). Antiphospholipid binds to phospholipid (fat derivates, lipids containing phosphorus, composed of fatty acids and a simple molecule). There are a few kinds of antiphospholipid antibodies, which are measured in order to make a diagnosis:
- Lupus anticoagulant – antibodies against phospholipids that prevent blood clotting. These are measured directly from the plasma, by Russell viper venom time (RVVT) and the Kaolin cephalin clotting test.
- Anticardiolipin antibody – antibodies often directed against cardiolipin and found in several diseases; measured by a procedure called ELISA.
- Anti-beta 2 glycoprotein 1 – predictors of arterial thrombosis. This test is used if the first two tests (for lupus anticoagulants or anticardiolipin antibodies) were negative.
- Sometimes anti-prothrombin and antimitochondrial antibodies are measured as well.
Antiphospholipid antibodies – treatments
High levels of these antibodies are associated with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (APS). Usually tests need to be repeated several times before the full diagnosis is given, because sometimes they can show false negative results (especially during the thrombosis). Most people, who test positively on the antiphospholipid antibodies tests, do not require any special treatment.
Antiphospholipid antibodies – who should get treatment?
However, patients who have an IgG anticardiolipin antibody of a moderate to high quantity are considered high risk and should get treatment. IgG anticardiolipin antibody is an important predictor of thrombosis and pregnancy complications. Treatments used, include:
- Aspirin is most commonly prescribed in low doses to all patients that require treatment and is recommended to be taken during pregnancy.
- Anticoagulation therapy with Coumadin, for patients with thrombosis.
- Antimalarials (e.g. hydroxychloroquin), for patients with lupus. They also have antiplatelet effects.
- Heparin is used before a surgery, biopsy, during pregnancy and six weeks after the childbirth.
- Corticosteroids are administered from the second trimester during pregnancy, in moderate doses.
Antiphospholipid antibodies can be found even in healthy people; and it is not completely known why these antibodies are produced in most cases. Sometimes they may be triggered by an infection of certain drugs. Presence of antiphospholipid antibodies in the blood does not mean a person is going to develop an illness, provided a healthy life style.
The presence of these proteins is now pinpointed as one of the main potential factors in many autoimmune conditions, but as we mentioned some news in the field are offering hope to people crippled by autiimmunity. I am talking about a holistic protocll known as the Norton protocol.
Learn more by visiting the home page of Norton protocol as well as get a more detailed information about antiphospholipid antibodies.