Connective tissue disease and autoantibodies in the kindreds of 63 patients with systemic sclerosis

P J Maddison, C Stephens, D Briggs, K I Welsh, G Harvey, J Whyte, N McHugh, C M Black

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Systemic sclerosis (SSc) tends to occur in a sporadic fashion and familial occurrence of the disease is unusual. Nevertheless, reports of related connective tissue diseases (CTD), autoantibodies, or both in family members together with associations of certain HLA class II phenotypes with SSc suggest that genetic factors might play a part in susceptibility to the disease. Because of the relative rarity of SSc only a small number of family pedigrees have been studied previously. This report represents the largest study to date, to our knowledge, of family members of patients with scleroderma, and provides the opportunity to investigate the relative importance of genetic and environmental factors operating in the disease. The family pedigrees of 63 patients with systemic sclerosis were examined with respect to clinical, serologic, and immunogenetic features. Multiple cases of SSc were seen only in 1 family, in which the disease affected a father and daughter. Disease expression in these 2 individuals was very similar both clinically and serologically; relatives with other connective tissue diseases were found in 9 families, and nonspecific features of CTD such as Raynaud phenomenon, and arthralgia or arthritis, occurred commonly, especially in female relatives. Antinuclear antibodies (ANA) were also detected more frequently in relatives than in controls. However, antibodies previously demonstrated to have a high degree of specificity for SSc were confined to patients with this disease. Probands had an increase in the frequency of HLA-DR3, DR5, and C4AQO. Patients with diffuse scleroderma had an increased frequency of HLA-DR3, while those with the limited form of the disease had an increased frequency of HLA-DR5.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-112
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1993


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