Primary anti-phospholipid syndrome: any role for serum complement levels in predicting pregnancy complications?

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Objective. To evaluate the association between serum complement levels (C3 and C4) and obstetric complications.

Methods. Fifty-seven pregnancies in primary APS (PAPS) patients were compared with 49 pregnancies in patients with UCTD and SS. A group of 175 healthy pregnant women were studied to calculate a normality range for C3 and C4 during pregnancy. Such a range was applied to define hypocomplementaemia in PAPS and UCTD/SS.

Results. Both groups of patients (PAPS and UCTD/SS) showed significantly lower levels of C3 and C4 in each trimester as compared with healthy women; conversely, no significant difference was found between PAPS and UCTD/SS. Comparing PAPS pregnancies with and without complications, no difference was found in the prevalence of low C3 or low C4.

Conclusion. No association was found between hypocomplementaemia and obstetric complications in PAPS. However, both cases of pre-eclampsia were characterized by low C3 throughout pregnancy. There is evidence that the complement system is a contributor to the mechanisms of aPL-mediated damage, but its predictive role on the final pregnancy outcome does not seem to be of major impact.

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