Targeted COVID Therapy: What Can we Learn From Autoimmune Kidney Diseases?

June 10, 2021

A study was recently published on the ability of antiphospholipid antibodies (aPLs) to bind to the “EPCR-LBPA” complex. Antiphospholipid antibodies are autoantibodies that target and attack phospholipid-binding proteins. This, researchers, found, initiates a self-amplifying signaling loop related to the innate immune complement and coagulation pathways. 

The EPCR-LBPA complex contains lipid-proteins that are located on the interior of blood vessels involved in the innate immune and clotting systems. The complex activates in the face of antiphospholipid antibodies and has been found to be involved in severe COVID-19 and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) cases. Once activated, the body’s inflammatory pathways and the primary pathway for blood coagulation are initiated. This initiation results in the exponentially increased production of autoantibodies as immune cell and B cell synthesis increases. 

This finding by the German-based research group has proved notable, particularly because of its implications for treating both SLE and COVID-19 patients. Specifically, the study group found that blocking the EPCR-LBPA signaling pathway in mice subjects helped prevent aPL-related blood clotting and autoimmune response, further illuminating a potential treatment path for human patients.