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Respir Med. 2011 Aug;105(8):1238-47. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2011.03.022. Epub 2011 Apr 22.

Detection of antisynthetase syndrome in patients with idiopathic interstitial pneumonias.

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Department of Respiratory Medicine, Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, Sakyo, Kyoto, Japan.



Antisynthetase syndrome (ASS) is characterized by autoantibodies to aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (anti-synthetase) and it is frequently associated with interstitial lung disease. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the prevalence and characteristics of the anti-synthetase positive subpopulation among idiopathic interstitial pneumonias (IIPs) and to clarify the importance of screening for these antibodies.


A retrospective study was performed in 198 consecutive cases with IIPs. Screening for six anti-synthetase antibodies was performed in all cases. Clinical profiles of all cases were compared with reference to the presence of anti-synthetase. High-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) findings of anti-synthetase positive cases were also analyzed.


13 cases (6.6%) were positive for anti-synthetase. Anti-EJ was most prevalent, followed by anti-PL-12. Onset ages of anti-synthetase positive cases were younger than those of anti-synthetase negative cases. Extrapulmonary features of ASS were absent in 6 anti-synthetase positive cases (46.2%). Histologically, among 5 UIP with lymphoid follicles and 11 NSIP cases, the prevalence of anti-synthetase positive cases was 8/16 (50%). On HRCT, ground glass opacity and traction bronchiectasis were the major findings in anti-synthetase positive cases, while honeycombing was absent.


Anti-synthetase positive cases were not rare among IIPs. Anti-synthetase should be screened for in IIPs, especially in pathological NSIP or UIP with lymphoid follicles. These patients should be screened for anti-synthetase even if no suggestive extrapulmonary manifestation exists.

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