The antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is diagnosed by the combination of vascular thrombosis and/or pregnancy morbidity and the detection of antiphospholipid antibodies (aPLs) in plasma. In the last few years, a great effort has been made to unravel the mechanism by which aPLs cause thrombosis and a vast amount of mechanisms have been proposed. aPLs were proposed to induce a prothrombotic state by influencing the cellular blood compartment, the plasma compartment, the vascular wall and even metabolic pathways beyond the hemostatic system. However, due to the diversity in the mechanisms and the differences in the methodology, the focus of the mechanistical studies in this field seems to be largely diffused. It is hard to imagine that aPLs can exert such a diversity of effects, resulting in either thrombosis and/or pregnancy morbidity and the relationship between aPLs and the clinical manifestations remains to be a mysterious "black box". In an attempt to get insight in what takes place inside the black box, we have analyzed 126 mechanistical studies on aPLs and discussed differences in the type of antibodies that were used, the involvement of beta2-glycoprotein I (beta(2)GPI), and the criteria used to diagnose APS patients.
- Antiphospholipid syndrome
- antiphospholipid antibodies