Lupus and your body

How common are antiphospholipid antibodies in people with lupus?

Dr. Michelle Petri is the Director of the Hopkins Lupus Cohort, a longitudinal study of morbidity and mortality in systemic lupus erythematosus, and Co-Director of the Hopkins Lupus Pregnancy Center.

See all of Michelle Petri, MD, MPH's answers.

Like other autoantibodies in lupus, the antiphospholipid antibodies can come and go in an individual. There are many ways to measure these antibodies, and different methods may not always give the same result. For example, in various studies, 8-65 percent of people with lupus have lupus anticoagulant, and 25-61 percent have anticardiolipin antibody.

These antibodies can also be found in people who do not have lupus. For example, 2 percent of young women have anticardiolipin antibody. These antibodies were first discovered in people who have lupus, but it is not necessary to have lupus to have these antibodies. In fact, in most studies, more than 50 percent of people with these antibodies do not have lupus. We do not yet understand why a person’s immune system begins to manufacture these antibodies.

Medically reviewed on July 25, 2013