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Prevalence of antibodies to Ro-52 in a serologically defined population of patients with systemic sclerosis

Posted Oct 21 2010 12:00am

Background

Antibodies against Ro-52 have been described in patients with a broad spectrum of autoimmune disease, most commonly in association with anti-Ro-60 in systemic lupus erythematosus and Sjogrens syndrome. However, in inflammatory myositis anti-Ro-52 is frequently present without anti-Ro-60 and is closely linked to the presence of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase (aats) antibodies. To date there have been no comprehensive reports on the frequency of anti-Ro-52 in systemic sclerosis (SSc), a disease characterised by hallmark autoantibodies that occur in non-overlapping subsets. Clinically, each antibody-defined group has a distinct pattern of organ involvement, some featuring myositis.

Objectives

To determine the frequency of anti-Ro-52 in serologically defined groups of SSc patients and to investigate a possible link with myositis-associated autoantibodies.

Methods

Serum samples from 1010 patients with SSc and 55 and 32 patients with anti-aats and anti-Ku respectively were tested for the presence of anti-Ro-52 using a commercial ELISA.

Results

The prevalence of anti-Ro-52 was 15–38% in nine of the eleven sub-groups. There were no significant differences in mean anti-Ro-52 levels in these groups with the exception of that defined by the presence of anti-U1-RNP. In the remaining groups defined by anti-Ro-60 and anti-aats, anti-Ro-52 was present in 92% and 100% respectively. In sera from non-SSc patients with anti-aats, anti-Ro-52 was detected in 64%.

Conclusion

Anti-Ro-52 is present throughout the SSc population. It is neither more prevalent in the myositis-associated antibody groups nor does it segregate with any other major SSc-specific autoantibodies. The co-existence of anti-Ro-52 with both anti-Ro-60 and anti-aats is confirmed.

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