Does mixed connective tissue disease exist? Yes

Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 2005 Aug;31(3):411-20, v. doi: 10.1016/j.rdc.2005.04.007.


For patients who have combined features of rheumatoid arthritis, the limited cutaneous form of systemic sclerosis, and inflammatory myopathies, the concept of mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) often helps to predict and diagnose organ problems and to educate the patient accordingly. With high titer IgG antibodies to U1 ribonucleoprotein (U1-snRNP), this concept is supported by a specific serologic marker, and autoantibodies to U1-snRNP and to heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP)-A2 display MCTD specificity with regard to the recognized epitopes. In addition, the association of MCTD with HLA-DR4 distinguishes it from systemic erythematosus lupus and systemic sclerosis, and speaks to its being a disease entity, rather than a mixture of yet undifferentiated collagen vascular diseases. The authors believe that the concept is useful in daily practice and accurate in the idea that MCTD constitutes a disease entity of its own.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • HLA-DR Antigens / genetics
  • Humans
  • Mixed Connective Tissue Disease* / blood
  • Mixed Connective Tissue Disease* / diagnosis
  • Mixed Connective Tissue Disease* / etiology
  • Ribonucleoprotein, U1 Small Nuclear / immunology


  • Autoantibodies
  • HLA-DR Antigens
  • Ribonucleoprotein, U1 Small Nuclear