Spectrum of antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL) in patients with cerebrovascular disease

Fernando Gonzales-Portillo, John A. McIntyre, Dawn R. Wagenknecht, Linda S. Williams, Askiel Bruno, José Biller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background: The association of stroke and antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL) other than anticardiolipin antibodies (aCL) is not well documented. Objective: To report the distribution of aCL, antiphosphatidylethanolamine (aPE), and antiphosphatidylserine (aPS) aPL among patients with symptomatic cerebrovascular disease evaluated by our Stroke Service at Indiana University Hospital from January 1997 to November 1999. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed medical records from 1997 to 1999 at Indiana University Hospital for all patients with symptomatic cerebrovascular disease using the International Statistical Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, (ICD-9) codes. We identified patients with elevated titers of aPL. Sera from these patients were obtained within the first 30 days of the index event. We included only those patients for whom the serum samples were tested in a single laboratory by an in-house enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for immunoglobulin G (IgG) immunoglobulin A (IgA) and immunoglobulin M (IgM) aCL, aPE, and aPS. We examined the clinical presentation, stroke risk factors, associated rheumatologic disorders, and distribution of aPL specificity and isotype. Results: Thirty-four of 185 patients, 26 women (76%), with a mean age of 46 years, and 8 men (24%) with a mean age of 46 years, had aPL. Nine patients had transient ischemic attacks (TIA), 25 suffered strokes, 23 had ischemic infarcts, and 2 had hemorrhagic infarcts (1 had a superior sagittal sinus thrombosis with bilateral hemispheric hemorrhagic infarcts, and one had bilateral hemorrhagic infarcts associated with systemic lupus erythematosus [SLE]). Six patients had SLE. The most common stroke risk factors were cigarette smoking (38%) and arterial hypertension (26%). Approximately two thirds (60%) of patients had a single positive aPL finding: aPE in 35%, aCL in 18%, and aPS in 6%. Multiple specificities were seen in 40%. IgA was the only aPL antibody isotype detected in 26% of the patients, IgG was the lone isotype in 24%, and IgM alone in 12%. Multiple aPL isotypes were detected in 38% of patients. Five patients (15%) presented with aPE IgA as the exclusive aPL. Conclusion: In our series, aPE was the most frequent finding in stroke patients who were suspected to have an associated aPL syndrome. These specific types of aPL may be present relatively often in stroke patients and are often not assessed. Further studies are needed to determine how specific these aPL are in stroke versus other acute illnesses and versus healthy controls, and how these aPL are associated with stroke risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)222-226
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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