AIMS--To investigate the effect of beta 2-glycoprotein I (beta 2 GPI) on the thrombin/thrombomodulin dependent activation of protein C; and to determine whether beta 2 GPI dependent anticardiolipin antibodies have any effect. METHODS--Protein C was activated by thrombin in the presence of thrombomodulin and phospholipid vesicles in an in vitro system. The effect of adding purified beta 2 GPI to this system was observed. Affinity purified anticardiolipin antibodies and total IgG from patients with anticardiolipin antibodies and the lupus anticoagulant were studied for their effects on protein C activation in the presence and absence of beta 2 GPI. RESULTS--beta 2-Glycoprotein I had no effect on the activity of preformed activated protein C. When the phospholipid vesicles were incubated with beta 2 GPI before the addition of protein C, the activation of protein C was inhibited in a dose dependent manner. With phosphatidylserine:phosphatidylcholine vesicles at a concentration of 1 microM:2 microM, beta 2 GPI began to inhibit the reaction at a concentration of 15 nM, and at 4 microM (the normal plasma concentration) the activation of protein C was reduced to 40%. Anticardiolipin antibodies had no demonstrable effect. CONCLUSIONS--beta 2-Glycoprotein I inhibits protein C activation in an in vitro system. Its physiological role is unknown but it has potential procoagulant as well as anticoagulant properties. An effect of antiphospholipid antibodies on protein C activation, which might explain their association with thrombosis, could not be shown.
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