• anti-mitochondrial M5 antibodies;
  • anti-β2-glycoprotein I antibodies ;
  • anti-phospholipid syndrome;
  • thrombosis;
  • fetal loss;
  • thrombocytopenia

The aim of this study was to characterize the antigen specificity and to evaluate the diagnostic and prognostic value of anti-mitochondrial M5 type antibodies (AMA M5). Fifty-eight patients selected on the basis of their AMA M5 positivity were investigated in relationship to their clinical and serological profile. Cross-absorption studies, Western blotting and immunoprecipitation analysis were carried out for AMA M5 antigen specificity characterization. Most patients had a diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) (65.5%) or of primary anti-phospholipid syndrome (PAPS) (24%); all the patients were positive for IgG or IgM anti-cardiolipin (anti-CL) antibodies and 49% of them also displayed lupus anticoagulant (LA) activity. Anti-β2-glycoprotein I (β2-GPI) IgG were detectable in 30/38 sera (78.9%) and IgM in 34/38 (89.4%). While anti-CL and anti-β2-GPI IgG antibodies were significantly associated with history of thrombosis and fetal loss, AMA M5 displayed a statistical association only for thrombocytopenia and recurrent fetal loss. Absorption with human β2-GPI both in free solution or in solid phase as well as with CL liposomes or CL/β2-GPI liposome complexes did not affect AMA M5 fluorescence. While AMA M5 activity is absorbed by whole mitochondrial preparations, no specific reactivities against several human, bovine and rat mitochondrial proteins could be detected in Western blotting and immunoprecipitation studies. AMA M5 appear to be detectable in both primary and secondary APS, displaying a strong association with the presence of thrombocytopenia and fetal loss. Although strictly related to anti-phospholipid antibodies, AMA M5, anti-CL and anti-β2-GPI antibodies represent distinct serological markers of the APS.