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Open Access Research article

Frequent coexistence of anti-topoisomerase I and anti-U1RNP autoantibodies in African American patients associated with mild skin involvement: a retrospective clinical study

Minoru Satoh12*, Malgorzata E Krzyszczak1, Yi Li1, Angela Ceribelli3, Steven J Ross13, Edward KL Chan3, Mark S Segal4, Michael R Bubb1, Eric S Sobel12 and Westley H Reeves12

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Department of Medicine, University of Florida, 1600 SW Archer Rd, Gainesville, FL, 32610 USA

2 Department of Pathology, Immunology, and Laboratory Medicine, University of Florida, 1600 SW Archer Rd, Gainesville, FL, 32610 USA

3 Department of Oral Biology, College of Dentistry, University of Florida, 1395 Center Drive, Gainesville, FL 32610 USA

4 Division of Nephrology, Hypertension, and Renal Transplantation, Department of Medicine, University of Florida, 1600 SW Archer Rd, Gainesville, FL, 32610 USA

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2011, 13:R73  doi:10.1186/ar3334

Published: 10 May 2011

Abstract

Introduction

The presence of anti-topoisomerase I (topo I) antibodies is a classic scleroderma (SSc) marker presumably associated with a unique clinical subset. Here the clinical association of anti-topo I was reevaluated in unselected patients seen in a rheumatology clinic setting.

Methods

Sera from the initial visit in a cohort of unselected rheumatology clinic patients (n = 1,966, including 434 systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), 119 SSc, 85 polymyositis/dermatomyositis (PM/DM)) were screened by radioimmunoprecipitation. Anti-topo I-positive sera were also tested with immunofluorescence and RNA immunoprecipitation.

Results

Twenty-five (15 Caucasian, eight African American, two Latin) anti-topo I positive patients were identified, and all except one met the ACR SSc criteria. Coexistence of other SSc autoantibodies was not observed, except for anti-U1RNP in six cases. When anti-topo I alone versus anti-topo I + U1RNP groups were compared, African American (21% vs. 67%), overlap with SLE (0 vs. 50%; P = 0.009) or PM/DM (0 vs. 33%; P = 0.05) or elevated creatine phosphokinase (CPK) (P = 0.07) were more common in the latter group. In comparison of anti-topo I-positive Caucasians versus African Americans, the latter more frequently had anti-U1RNP (13% vs. 50%), mild/no skin changes (14% vs. 63%; P = 0.03) and overlap with SLE (0 vs. 38%; P = 0.03) and PM/DM (0 vs. 25%; P = 0.05).

Conclusions

Anti-topo I detected by immunoprecipitation in unselected rheumatology patients is highly specific for SSc. Anti-topo I coexisting with anti-U1RNP in African American patients is associated with a subset of SLE overlapping with SSc and PM/DM but without apparent sclerodermatous changes.