Anti-Phospholipids Syndrome (APLS).
(A syndrome is a collection of events which constitute a specific illness).
Introduction: Infertility is the term used for the inability to become pregnant. Couples with recurrent pregnancy losses also, have a fertility problem even though the woman is able to conceive. Abnormalities in the immune system affect a woman’s ability to carry a pregnancy to term and deliver a healthy baby. Our immune system is designed to fight off foreign invaders like viruses and bacteria. In many people (mostly women) the immune system behaves abnormally/reverses way and antibodies are formed against their own tissues, which makes our immune/defense system to attack on our own cells/tissues of our body. This makes us suffer with many autoimmune diseases.
Autoimmune antibodies which interfere in the blood clotting mechanism promoting the formation of blood clots are called as anti-phospholipid antibodies. This led to the term Anti-Phospholipids Syndrome, which includes a series of symptoms:
(a) Repeated clotting in veins (pulmonary embolus) and/or arteries (stroke, blood clots in limbs, or a coronary).
(b) Recurrent pregnancy loss (usually during mid to late pregnancy).
The above symptoms are specifically characteristic of APLS, additionally many others like skin changes and low platelets etc.
Phospholipid: A phospholipid is a type of fat which contains phosphate and lipids. All cells in the body have membranes made up of phospholipids which hold the cell together. Bacteria and viruses also have phospholipids.
Anti-Phospholipid Antibodies (APLA): When our immune system recognizes phospholipids of its own cell membrane as foreign and produces antibodies against them are called anti-phospholipid antibodies.
β2-Glycoprotein 1 and its Relation to APLS: β2-Glycoprotein 1 is bound to inner phospholipids of the cell membrane. But some times, when a cell is injured, infected or because of some drugs, the inner phospholipids of the cell membrane will flip expose out. β2-Glycoprotein 1 naturally binds to these exposed phospholipids. People with infections, such as syphilis, will make antibody directed against the phospholipids of cell membrane. But, people with APLS make antibodies directed against the β2-Glycoprotein 1, which binds to the inner phospholipids which accidentally got exposed to the outside.
Anti-Phospholipid Antibodies and Pregnancy:
Phospholipids are components of every cell membrane. Hence, APLAs in the mother retard and damage placental development, causing the baby to die.
Other clinical features associated with APLAs:
Deep vein thrombosis, Clots in arteries, Blotchy skin, low platelet’s count, Headaches & Migraines, Memory loss.
Like it on Facebook, Tweet it or share this article on other bookmarking websites.