The prevalence and clinical significance of antiphospholipid antibodies in rheumatoid arthritis
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- Olech, E. & Merrill, J.T. Curr Rheumatol Rep (2006) 8: 100. doi:10.1007/s11926-006-0049-8
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Published data were reviewed to evaluate the occurrence of antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients and to investigate their clinical relevance in this population. The mean prevalence was calculated at 28% and the median was 22%. Few studies have found a relationship between aPL antibodies and thrombosis, particularly in combination with other risk factors. Conflicting results have been reported on the association of anticardiolipin (aCL) antibody positivity and neurologic symptoms, Reynaud’s phenomenon, disease activity, radiographic erosions, extra-articular RA manifestations, rheumatoid factor, and atherosclerosis. Some studies, however, suggest that there is a correlation present between those antibodies and C-reactive protein levels, rheumatoid nodules, and antinuclear antibodies. TNF-α blocking agents may cause an induction of aCL antibodies, but it seems like they do not cause any clinical features related to the antiphospholipid syndrome. Higher 17β-estradiol levels were observed in aCL antibody-positive RA patients than in aCL antibody-negative patients and especially in premenopausal women, which may predispose to a more efficient immune response.