Research Article

Tissue plasminogen activator inhibitor in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and thrombosis.

BMJ 1990; 300 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.300.6732.1099 (Published 28 April 1990) Cite this as: BMJ 1990;300:1099
  1. F Violi,
  2. D Ferro,
  3. G Valesini,
  4. C Quintarelli,
  5. M Saliola,
  6. M A Grandilli,
  7. F Balsano
  1. Institute of Clinical Medicine I, University of Rome La Sapienza, Italy.

    Abstract

    OBJECTIVE--To examine the relations among tissue plasminogen activator antigen, plasminogen activator inhibitor, the lupus anticoagulant, and anticardiolipin antibodies in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. DESIGN--Prospective study of blood samples (a) from selected patients with systemic lupus erythematosus whose disease was and was not complicated by a history of thrombosis or recurrent abortions, or both, and (b) from a series of healthy controls with a similar age and sex distribution. SETTING--University based medical clinic. SUBJECTS--23 Patients with definite systemic lupus erythematosus (American Rheumatism Association criteria), of whom 11 (eight women) aged 26-51 had a history of thrombosis or recurrent abortions, or both, and 12 (10 women) aged 23-53 had no such history. 15 Healthy subjects (10 women) aged 25-58 served as controls. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Tissue plasminogen activator concentrations, plasminogen activator inhibitor activities, detection of the lupus anticoagulant, and values of anticardiolipin antibodies in the two groups of patients and in the patients with a history of thrombosis or abortions compared with controls. Other measurements included concentrations of proteins that are known to change during the acute phase of systemic lupus erythematosus--namely, fibrinogen, C3 and C4, and C reactive protein. RESULTS--Patients with a history of thrombosis or abortions, or both, had significantly higher values of tissue plasminogen activator and plasminogen activator inhibitor than patients with no such history. A significant correlation between tissue plasminogen activator and plasminogen activator inhibitor (r = 0.80) was found only in the patients with a history of complications of their disease. The lupus anticoagulant was detected in six of the 11 patients with a history of thrombosis or abortions when tested by measuring the activated partial thromboplastin time but was found in all 11 patients when tested by measuring the diluted activated partial thromboplastin time. Nine of these 11 patients had raised values of anticardiolipin antibodies. The findings showed no relation to the activity of the disease. CONCLUSIONS--A significant correlation between tissue plasminogen activator concentrations and plasminogen activator inhibitor activities was found only in patients whose systemic lupus erythematosus was complicated by a history of thrombosis or recurrent abortions. The findings show that these patients have raised plasminogen activator inhibitor activities, and the frequent association between these raised activities and the presence of the lupus anticoagulant suggests that the two may be linked.