Association of antibodies to ribonucleoprotein and Sm antigens with mixed connective-tissue disease, systematic lupus erythematosus and other rheumatic diseases

N Engl J Med. 1976 Nov 18;295(21):1149-54. doi: 10.1056/NEJM197611182952101.


Extractable nuclear antigen contains ribo-nuclease-sensitive (ribonucleoprotein) and ribonuclease-resistant (Sm) components. To determine the diagnostic usefulness of antibodies to these antigens, a multicenter study was undertaken in which serums were analyzed for these antibodies and the findings compared with clinical and other laboratory characteristics of the patients. Of 100 patients with hemagglutinating antibodies to ribonuclease-sensitive extractable nuclear antigen, and only the same antibodies by immunodiffusion, 74 per cent had typical features of mixed connective-tissue disease; 12 features of systemic lupus erythematosus, eight those of scleroderma and six an undifferentiated mild connective-tissue disease. Of 27 patients with hemagglutinating antibodies to ribonuclease-resistant extractable nuclear antigen (and Sm antibodies by immunodiffusion), 85 per cent had typical systemic lupus. Thus, antibodies to nuclear ribonucleoprotein and Sm are of diagnostic use; if the serum contains only ribonucleoprotein antibody in high titer, it is likely that the patient has mixed connective-tissue disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / analysis*
  • Antigens* / analysis
  • Autoantigens* / analysis
  • Cell Nucleus / immunology*
  • Child
  • Collagen Diseases / diagnosis
  • Collagen Diseases / immunology*
  • DNA / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nucleoproteins / immunology*
  • Rheumatic Diseases / immunology*
  • Ribonucleases / metabolism
  • Ribonucleoproteins / immunology*
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / immunology


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Antigens
  • Autoantigens
  • Nucleoproteins
  • Ribonucleoproteins
  • DNA
  • Ribonucleases