Clinical features of 405 Japanese patients with systemic sclerosis

Mod Rheumatol. 2012 Apr;22(2):272-9. doi: 10.1007/s10165-011-0515-7. Epub 2011 Aug 28.


We aimed to clarify the clinical features of Japanese patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc), especially with reference to organ involvement and autoantibodies. A cohort of 405 patients with SSc who attended our institution from 1973 to 2008 was identified retrospectively. Data on clinical features, including autoantibodies, organ involvement, and overlap of other connective tissue diseases, were obtained by following the medical records until 2009. The percentage of male patients during or after 1990 was greater than that before 1990 (3.9 vs. 10.6%, respectively). Limited cutaneous SSc (lSSc) was twice as frequent as diffuse cutaneous SSc (dSSc). About half of the patients had lung involvement (50.4%), while only 3.2% had scleroderma renal crisis. Male gender was associated with lung involvement, and dSSc was associated with most organ involvements except for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Anti-Scl-70 antibody was associated with lung or heart involvement, while anti-U1-RNP antibody was only associated with PAH. Conversely, patients with anti-centromere antibody had less organ involvement. SSc-Sjögren overlap syndrome was related to lSSc, further overlapping systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and less lung or heart involvement. In conclusion, these results not only confirmed previous reports but revealed several other findings, such as the increased proportion of male patients in recent years and the relationships between clinical features.

MeSH terms

  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Centromere / immunology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / etiology
  • Lung Diseases / immunology
  • Lung Diseases / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nuclear Proteins / immunology
  • Renal Insufficiency / etiology
  • Renal Insufficiency / immunology
  • Renal Insufficiency / pathology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ribonucleoprotein, U1 Small Nuclear / immunology
  • Scleroderma, Diffuse / complications
  • Scleroderma, Diffuse / immunology
  • Scleroderma, Diffuse / pathology*
  • Scleroderma, Limited / complications
  • Scleroderma, Limited / immunology
  • Scleroderma, Limited / pathology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Skin Diseases / etiology
  • Skin Diseases / immunology
  • Skin Diseases / pathology*


  • Autoantibodies
  • Biomarkers
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Ribonucleoprotein, U1 Small Nuclear
  • Scl 70 antigen, human