A subset of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus has autoantibodies to acidic phospholipids. Since lipids are poor immunogens, the mechanism responsible for the induction of these antibodies is unclear. Immunization of a normal rabbit and normal mice with purified human beta 2-glycoprotein I (apolipoprotein H) resulted in the production of high levels of two non-cross-reactive antibody populations, anti-apolipoprotein H, and antiphospholipid. The antiphospholipid antibodies had binding specificities indistinguishable from autoantibodies obtained from human and murine lupus. These findings suggest a novel mechanism for the induction of antiphospholipid autoantibodies.
A E Gharavi, L R Sammaritano, J Wen, K B Elkon