Image_1_Antiphospholipid Antibodies to Domain I of Beta-2-Glycoprotein I Show Different Subclass Predominance in Comparison to Antibodies to Whole Beta-2-glycoprotein I.jpg

Antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL), the serological hallmark of antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), are a heterogeneous group of autoantibodies raised against circulating blood proteins. Of these proteins, the phospholipid-binding b2-glycoprotein I (β2GPI) is considered to be the main autoantigen in APS. Indeed, IgG antibodies targeting b2GPI (ab2GPI) directly cause both thrombosis and pregnancy morbidity in several mouse models. While antibodies raised against all five domains of b2GPI have been reported, a subgroup of IgG ab2GPI raised against the first domain (DI) of b2GPI (aDI), strongly correlate with thrombotic APS, and drive thrombosis and pregnancy loss in vivo. Few studies have focused on determining the type of IgG subclass(es) for aPL. The subclass of an antibody is important as this dictates the potential activity of an antibody; for example, IgG1 and IgG3 can fix complement better and are able to cross the placenta compared to IgG2 and IgG4. It is unknown what subclass IgG aDI are, and whether they are the same as ab2GPI. To determine IgG subclass distribution for ab2GPI and aDI, we purified total IgG from the serum of 19 APS patients with known ab2GPI and aDI activity. Using subclass-specific conjugated antibodies, we modified our established in-house ab2GPI and aDI ELISAs to individually measure IgG1, IgG2, IgG3, and IgG4. We found that while IgG1, IgG2, and IgG3 ab2GPI levels were similar, a marked difference was seen in IgG subclass aDI levels. Specifically, significantly higher levels of IgG3 aDI were detected compared to IgG1, IgG2, or IgG4 (p < 0.05 for all comparisons). Correlation analysis of subclass-specific ab2GPI vs. aDI demonstrated that IgG3 showed the weakest correlation (r = 0.45, p = 0.0023) compared to IgG1 (r = 0.61, p = 0.0001) and IgG2 (r = 0.81, p = 0.0001). Importantly, total subclass levels in IgG purified from APS and healthy serum (n = 10 HC n = 12 APS) did not differ, suggesting that the increased IgG3 aDI signal seen in APS-derived IgG is antigen-specific. To conclude, our data suggests that aDI show a different IgG subclass distribution to ab2GPI. Our results highlight the importance of aDI testing for patient stratification and may point toward differential underlying aPL-driven pathogenic processes that may be subclass restricted.