Prevalence and clinical associations of anti-Ku antibodies in systemic autoimmune diseases

Lupus. 2008 Aug;17(8):727-32. doi: 10.1177/0961203308089442.


We retrospectively analysed the prevalence and clinical features associated to anti-Ku antibodies in patients affected by different autoimmune diseases. Anti-Ku antibodies are detected in 147 sera out of 7239 anti-ENA positive sera (2%). They are found in 2% of patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) (8 out of 379), 1.8% of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) (7 out of 372) and 1.8% of undifferentiated connective tissue disease (UCTD) (9 out of 496) and more rarely in Sjögren Syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis. Most of anti-Ku positive patients were affected by UCTD and overlap syndromes, including polymyositis, SSc and SLE. Interstitial lung disease, myositis, articular symptoms, Raynaud's phenomenon and sicca represents the main clinical features detected in our cohort. The rate and severity of pulmonary disease is similar to those found in other SSc patients. Isolated anti-Ku were detected in about 47% of sera. No clinical differences were observed between these patients and subjects with multiple anti-nuclear specificities. However, anti-Ku are usually detected in association with other serological markers in SLE and Sjögren Syndrome, while they occurred isolated in SSc and polymyositis.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / blood*
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / immunology
  • Antigens, Nuclear / immunology*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / diagnosis
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / immunology*
  • Dermatomyositis / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ku Autoantigen
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mixed Connective Tissue Disease / immunology


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Antigens, Nuclear
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • anti-extractable nuclear antigen antibodies
  • Xrcc6 protein, human
  • Ku Autoantigen