Antiphospholipid antibodies, proteins C and S, and coagulation changes in sickle cell disease

Maxwell P. Westerman, David Green, Alice Gilman-Sachs, Kenneth Beaman, Sally Freels, Lisa Boggio, Sandra Allen, Leon Zuckerman, Robert Schlegel, Patrick Williamson

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115 Scopus citations


The significance, interactions, and sources of coagulation abnormalities and their relation ship to clinical severity and painful episodes in sickle cell disease are not clear. To evaluate this, we have examined various measures of coagulation in 37 patients with sickle cell disease (20 patients with HbSS disease and 17 patients with HbSC disease). Measurements have included isotypes of antiphospholipid antibodies (IgG, IgM, IgA) to specific phospholipids; proteins C (activity, total antigen) and S (activity, total and free antigen); measures of coagulation activation (prothrombin fragment 1.2, thrombin-antithrombin, fibrinopeptide A, d-dimers); indicators of clinical severity; and studies obtained during steady states and painful episodes. Results in HbSS disease showed that antiphospholipid antibodies were increased, with IgG phosphatidylserine showing the highest and most frequently increased levels (37% of patients). Protein C (activity) and protein S (activity, total, free antigen) were decreased (P < .01), and all measures of coagulation activation were increased (P < .001). In HbSC disease, antiphospholipid antibodies were normal, protein C (activity) and protein S (free antigen) were decreased (P < .001), and all measures of coagulation activation were increased (P < .02). A strong correlation was observed in HbSS disease between IgG-PS and d-dimers. Moderate correlations occurred between protein C activity and thrombinantithrombin and fibrinopeptide A, between protein S activity and prothrombin fragment 1.2 and d-dimers, and between protein C and protein S activity. In HbSC disease, moderate and fewer correlations occurred. Significant differences between HbSS disease and HbSC disease were observed in aPLs, proteins C and S, and measures of coagulation activation. Measurements during steady states and during painful episodes were not significantly different. We conclude that the antiphospholipid antibody IgG-PS may contribute to coagulation activation in HbSS disease and that IgG-PS, protein C, and protein S relate to each other and jointly to measures of coagulation activation. The increased level of IgG-PS in HbSS disease most likely reflects exposure of the procoagulant phosphatidylserine on the surfaces of red cell-shed vesicles and sickle red cells, which would further affect coagulation activation. The significant differences in coagulation measures between HbSS disease and HbSC disease are consistent with differences in clinical severity between the diseases. The development of painful episodes does not appear to be related to the coagulation changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)352-362
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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