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Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2005 Aug;35(1):35-42.

Autoantibodies in systemic sclerosis.

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Department of Medicine, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 2007, USA.



To describe the clinical, laboratory, and prognostic features associated with the scleroderma-specific autoantibodies.


Using the Pittsburgh Scleroderma Databank, all consecutive patients seen between 1980 and 1995 who had autoantibody studies performed were studied. Anticentromere antibodies (ACA), antitopoisomerase (TOPO), anti-U1-RNP (U1-RNP), anti-RNA Polymerase III (Pol 3), anti-U3-RNP (U3-RNP), anti-Th/To (Th/To), and anti-Pm/Scl (Pm/Scl) were determined according to previously described methods. The frequency of clinical features, organ system outcomes, and survival within the patients with a specific antibody were cumulative over the course of the disease. The frequency of a specific feature was compared across groups to identify significant manifestations and outcomes in patients with a specific antibody.


Some demographic, clinical, and organ system findings were associated with the specific antibody, and other features with the scleroderma subtype (limited cutaneous or diffuse cutaneous scleroderma). U3-RNP, U1-RNP, and TOPO were seen more commonly in African-American patients, and ACA was seen in older, female Caucasians. Muscle inflammation was seen in patients with U1-RNP and U3-RNP. Digital tip ulcers and digital tuft resorption were seen more frequently in those with ACA and TOPO. A vasculopathy causing pulmonary hypertension typically occurs with ACA and pulmonary fibrosis with TOPO; however, both types of lung disease were seen in patients with nucleolar antibodies, Th/To and U3-RNP. Importantly, severe interstitial fibrosis was rarely seen in cases with Pol 3. Renal crisis was strongly associated with Pol 3. Survival within limited scleroderma was decreased in the Th/To patients compared with ACA patients. Within the diffuse scleroderma group, patients with Pol 3 had the best survival.


Scleroderma autoantibodies are associated with very specific demographic, clinical, organ system, and survival features.


The determination of scleroderma autoantibodies may be helpful in assessing the prognosis, monitoring, and treatment of scleroderma patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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