Heterogeneity of autoantibodies in 100 patients with autoimmune myositis: insights into clinical features and outcomes

Arthritis Res Ther. 2007;9(4):R78. doi: 10.1186/ar2276.


The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence, mutual associations, clinical manifestations, and diagnoses associated with serum autoantibodies, as detected using recently available immunoassays, in patients with autoimmune myositis (AIM). Sera and clinical data were collected from 100 patients with AIM followed longitudinally. Sera were screened cross-sectionally for 21 autoantibodies by multiplex addressable laser bead immunoassay, line blot immunoassay, immunoprecipitation of in vitro translated recombinant protein, protein A assisted immunoprecipitation, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Diagnoses were determined using the Bohan and Peter classification as well as recently proposed classifications. Relationships between autoantibodies and clinical manifestations were analyzed by multiple logistic regression. One or more autoantibodies encompassing 19 specificities were present in 80% of the patients. The most common autoantibodies were anti-Ro52 (30% of patients), anti-Ku (23%), anti-synthetases (22%), anti-U1RNP (15%), and anti-fibrillarin (14%). In the presence of autoantibodies to Ku, synthetases, U1RNP, fibrillarin, PM-Scl, or scleroderma autoantigens, at least one more autoantibody was detected in the majority of sera and at least two more autoantibodies in over one-third of sera. The largest number of concurrent autoantibodies was six autoantibodies. Overall, 44 distinct combinations of autoantibodies were counted. Most autoantibodies were unrestricted to any AIM diagnostic category. Distinct clinical syndromes and therapeutic responses were associated with anti-Jo-1, anti-fibrillarin, anti-U1RNP, anti-Ro, anti-Ro52, and autoantibodies to scleroderma autoantigens. We conclude that a significant proportion of AIM patients are characterized by complex associations of autoantibodies. Certain myositis autoantibodies are markers for distinct overlap syndromes and predict therapeutic outcomes. The ultimate clinical features, disease course, and response to therapy in a given AIM patient may be linked to the particular set of associated autoantibodies. These results provide a rationale for patient profiling and its application to therapeutics, because it cannot be assumed that the B-cell response is the same even in the majority of patients in a given diagnostic category.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / blood*
  • Autoantigens / immunology*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / diagnosis
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Epitope Mapping
  • Epitopes / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay
  • Myositis / diagnosis
  • Myositis / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Autoantigens
  • Epitopes