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Because thrombocytopenia occurs frequently in patients with anticardiolipin (aCL) antibodies and thrombosis, some investigators have proposed that aCL antibodies may play a direct part in thrombosis by binding and activating platelets. To test this proposal experiments were performed to determine whether aCL antibodies can bind platelets. Preincubation of aCL positive sera with freeze-thawed platelets caused significant inhibition of aCL activity in four serum samples tested. Antibodies with cardiolipin binding activity were subsequently eluted from these platelets. Total phospholipids extracted from platelets inhibited aCL activity, and the specific phospholipids bound were shown to be phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylserine, and phosphatidylinositol. It is concluded that aCL antibodies can bind phospholipids in platelet membranes but pertubation of the membrane must first occur.