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Arthritis Res Ther. 2003; 5(2): 80–93.
Published online 2003 February 12.
PMCID: PMC165038

The clinical relevance of autoantibodies in scleroderma

Abstract

Scleroderma (systemic sclerosis) is associated with several autoantibodies, each of which is useful in the diagnosis of affected patients and in determining their prognosis. Anti-centromere antibodies (ACA) and anti-Scl-70 antibodies are very useful in distinguishing patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) from healthy controls, from patients with other connective tissue disease, and from unaffected family members. Whereas ACA often predict a limited skin involvement and the absence of pulmonary involvement, the presence of anti-Scl-70 antibodies increases the risk for diffuse skin involvement and scleroderma lung disease. Anti-fibrillarin autoantibodies (which share significant serologic overlap with anti-U3-ribonucleoprotein antibodies) and anti-RNA-polymerase autoantibodies occur less frequently and are also predictive of diffuse skin involvement and systemic disease. Anti-Th/To and PM-Scl, in contrast, are associated with limited skin disease, but anti-Th/To might be a marker for the development of pulmonary hypertension. Other autoantibodies against extractable nuclear antigens have less specificity for SSc, including anti-Ro, which is a risk factor for sicca symptoms in patients with SSc, and anti-U1-ribonucleoprotein, which in high titer is seen in patients with SSc/systemic lupus erythematosus/polymyositis overlap syndromes. Limited reports of other autoantibodies (anti-Ku, antiphospholipid) have not established them as being clinically useful in following patients with SSc.

Keywords: anti-centromere, anti-Scl-70, autoantibodies, scleroderma, systemic sclerosis

Articles from Arthritis Research & Therapy are provided here courtesy of BioMed Central