Objective: To identify similarities and differences in the clinical features of adult Japanese patients with individual anti-aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase antibodies (anti-ARS Abs).
Methods: This was a retrospective analysis of 166 adult Japanese patients with anti-ARS Abs detected by immunoprecipitation assays. These patients had visited Kanazawa University Hospital or collaborating medical centers from 2003 to 2009.
Results: Anti-ARS Ab specificity included anti-Jo-1 (36%), anti-EJ (23%), anti-PL-7 (18%), anti-PL-12 (11%), anti-KS (8%), and anti-OJ (5%). These anti-ARS Abs were mutually exclusive, except for one serum Ab that had both anti-PL-7 and PL-12 reactivity. Myositis was closely associated with anti-Jo-1, anti-EJ, and anti-PL-7, while interstitial lung disease (ILD) was correlated with all 6 anti-ARS Abs. Dermatomyositis (DM)-specific skin manifestations (heliotrope rash and Gottron's sign) were frequently observed in patients with anti-Jo-1, anti-EJ, anti-PL-7, and anti-PL-12. Therefore, most clinical diagnoses were polymyositis or DM for anti-Jo-1, anti-EJ, and anti-PL-7; clinically amyopathic DM or ILD for anti-PL-12; and ILD for anti-KS and anti-OJ. Patients with anti-Jo-1, anti-EJ, and anti-PL-7 developed myositis later if they had ILD alone at the time of disease onset, and most patients with anti-ARS Abs eventually developed ILD if they did not have ILD at disease onset.
Conclusion: Patients with anti-ARS Abs are relatively homogeneous. However, the distribution and timing of myositis, ILD, and rashes differ among patients with individual anti-ARS Abs. Thus, identification of individual anti-ARS Abs is beneficial to define this rather homogeneous subset and to predict clinical outcomes within the "anti-synthetase syndrome."