Background: Thrombosis is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS) and in SLE patients with antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL). APL recognize β2 glycoprotein I (β2GPI)-bound to receptor (s) in endothelial cells (EC) and other target cells (i.e. platelets, monocytes) and trigger an intracellular signalling and a pro-coagulant and pro-inflammatory phenotype [i e.expression of tissue factor (TF), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1)] that lead to thrombosis. There is in vitro evidence that annexin A2 (A2), a receptor for tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) and plasminogen – and possibly other proteins such as toll-like receptors or the receptor for apolipoprotein E2′ - may be binding β2GPI on the membrane of target cells. Here, we examined the involvement of A2 in aPL-mediated pathogenic effects in vivo. We studied the effects of aPL Abs on thrombus formation, VCAM-1 expression in aortas of mice, and TF function in carotid artery homogenates in annexin A2 deficient (−/−) mice.

Methods: A2 (−/−) mice and the corresponding wild-type (WT) mice, in groups of 10, were injected i.p. twice (0 and 48 hours later) with IgG from a patient with APS (IgG-APS) or with control IgG (IgG-NHS). Seventy-two hours after the first injection, several procedures were done in each mice:

  • dynamics of thrombus formation (thrombus size),

  • TF function in homogenates of carotid arteries, and c) VCAM-1 expression in the aortas using quantum dot nano crystals and two-photon excitation laser scanning microscopy.

In addition, we examined the effect of an anti-A2 antibody on aPL-induced expression of intercellular cell-adhesion molecule (ICAM-1), E-selectin and TF acvitity on cultured endothelial cells (EC).

Results: The titers of aCL and anti-β2GPI Abs in the sera of the mice at the time of surgery were medium-high positive in A2 (−/−) mice and in wild type mice injected with IgG-APS. Thrombus sizes were significantly larger in WT mice injected with IgG-APS when compared to similar type of mice treated with IgG-NHS (p=0.003). The size of thrombus in A2 (−/−) mice injected with IgG-APS was significantly smaller than mean thrombus size in WT mice injected with IgG-APS (p:0.0005). However, thrombus size in A2 (−/−) mice was larger in mice injected with IgG-APS when compared to same type of mice treated with control IgG-NHS (p=0.003), indicating a partial but significant abrogation of the thrombogenic effect. TF activity was significantly larger in WT mice treated with IgG-APS when compared to mice injected with IgG-NHS. Importantly, TF activity in carotid arteries homogenates of annexin A2 (−/−) mice injected with IgG-APS was significantly decreased (by 52%) when compared to wild type mice treated with IgG-APS. The expression of VCAM-1 in aorta of annexin A2 (−/−) ex vivo was also significantly reduced compared to LPS-treated mice (positive control) (p= 0.01). Interestingly, anti-A2 antibody significantly decreased aPL-induced expression of ICAM-1, E-sel and TF on cultured EC.

Conclusions: Altogether these data indicate for the first time that A2 is involved in vivo pathogenic effects of aPL Abs. These findings may have important implications to devise new targeted and more specific therapeutic approaches to block the pathogenic effects of aPL Abs in patients with APS and SLE.

Disclosures: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

Author notes

Corresponding author