Increased prevalence of anti-thyroid antibodies in patients with limited scleroderma

Scand J Rheumatol. 2011;40(4):299-303. doi: 10.3109/03009742.2010.549837. Epub 2011 Mar 21.


Objectives: Thyroid dysfunction in the setting of systemic sclerosis (SSc) has been described previously. We aimed to determine the prevalence of anti-thyroid antibodies (ATA) in a large SSc cohort and to ascertain whether they are associated with distinct clinical phenotypes.

Methods: A total of 138 patients with SSc [46 with diffuse (dSSc) and 92 with limited scleroderma (lSSc)] and 100 healthy controls (HC) were tested for the presence of ATA [anti-thyroglobulin (anti-Tg) and anti-thyroid peroxidase (anti-TPO) antibodies] using a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Clinical and serological data were recorded.

Results: An increased prevalence of anti-TPO but not anti-Tg antibodies was detected in patients with SSc compared to HC (27.5% vs. 14%, p = 0.016). Of note, a statistically significant increase of anti-TPO was detected only in patients with lSSc compared to HC (32.6% vs. 14%, p = 0.003). No correlations with other clinical features were detected.

Conclusions: An increased prevalence of anti-TPO antibodies was identified in patients with lSSc. We propose that ATA testing should be offered to this subgroup of patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Anti-Idiotypic / blood*
  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iodide Peroxidase / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenotype
  • Scleroderma, Diffuse / blood
  • Scleroderma, Diffuse / immunology*
  • Scleroderma, Limited / blood
  • Scleroderma, Limited / immunology*
  • Thyroid Gland / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Anti-Idiotypic
  • Autoantibodies
  • anti-thyroglobulin
  • Iodide Peroxidase