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Keywords:

  • Antiphospholipid antibody;
  • phosphatidylserine;
  • cytoskeleton;
  • cardiolipin;
  • intermediate filament

PROBLEM: It has been proposed that antibodies against phospholipid-dependent antigens (aPLs), induce recurrent pregnancy loss and thrombosis through modulation of endothelial cell function, yet aPLs have not been conclusively shown to bind with endothelial cells.

METHOD: Using indirect immunofluorescence we investigated the anti-endothelial cell reactivity of three monoclonal antibodies that differentiate between the phospholipids cardiolipin (CL) and phosphatidylserine (PS): BA3B5C4 (CL+/PS+); 3SB9b (CL-/PS+); and D11A4 (CL+/PS-). Cultured umbilical cord endothelial cells were prepared without fixation or with cold acetone fixation.

RESULTS: None of the aPLs reacted with endothelial cells prepared without fixation. 3SB9B reacted strongly with cytoskeletal-like components in acetone-fixed cells, whereas BA3B5C4 and D11A4 were unreactive. The cytoskeletal-like binding of 3SB9b was completely blocked by a monoclonal antibody against vimentin, whereas antibodies against tubulin or actin were not inhibitory. Lipid extraction of the cells destroyed the 3SB9b reactive antigen without affecting the reactivity of anti-vimentin.

CONCLUSION: These results suggest that phospholipid-dependent antigenic determinants are not expressed on the surface of resting endothelial cells but that a PS-dependent antigenic determinant is associated with endothelial cell intermediate filaments.