Autoantibodies in connective tissue diseases: clinical significance and analysis of target autoantigens

Intern Med. 1999 Jul;38(7):523-32. doi: 10.2169/internalmedicine.38.523.


Systemic connective tissue diseases are characterized by the production of a number of autoantibodies directed against various cellular constituents. These autoantibodies are closely associated with certain diseases and clinical manifestations, and are therefore useful for clinical practice such as to diagnose diseases and to predict clinical subsets, disease activity and prognosis. To understand the etiology and pathogenic mechanisms of connective tissue diseases; it is particularly important to elucidate the structure and function of target autoantigens recognized by these disease-specific autoantibodies. In recent years, the nature of many target autoantigens have been identified using molecular biology approaches. Most of them are intracellular enzymes and regulatory factors necessary for important biological function involved in gene replication, transcription, RNA processing and protein translation. Thus, the studies of autoantibodies are useful not only in clinical medicine but also in basic cellular and molecular biology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology
  • Autoantibodies / metabolism*
  • Autoantigens*
  • Connective Tissue Diseases / immunology*
  • Dermatomyositis / immunology
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology
  • Polymyositis / immunology
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / immunology
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / immunology
  • Vasculitis / immunology


  • Autoantibodies
  • Autoantigens