Autoantibodies against a complement component 1 q subcomponent contribute to complement activation and recurrent thrombosis/pregnancy morbidity in anti-phospholipid syndrome

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Objective. To investigate the prevalence and significance of the autoantibodies against complement component 1 q subcomponent (C1q) in patients with APS.

Methods. In all, 40 consecutive primary APS patients, 42 patients with non-SLE CTDs and 20 SLE patients negative for aPL were enrolled in this retrospective analysis. Refractory APS was defined as a clinical status of recurring thrombosis or pregnancy morbidity during adequate secondary prophylaxis. An ELISA was used to measure serum levels of anti-C1q antibodies and anaphylatoxins (C3a, C4a).

Results. Anti-C1q antibodies were found in 36% (15/42) and 2.5% (1/40) of primary APS patients and controls, respectively. Among primary APS patients, anti-C1q antibody titres were significantly correlated with serum C4a levels (P = 0.013). Neither the prevalence nor the titre of anti-C1q antibodies was associated with any specific clinical manifestations of APS, nor titres of aPL. Refractory APS patients (n = 10) had a higher prevalence of anti-C1q antibodies (9/10 vs 6/32, P = 0.01) than APS patients without recurrence (n = 32).

Conclusion. Anti-C1q antibodies are associated with complement activation in APS and may contribute to the pathogenesis, particularly in refractory cases.

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