Antisynthetase syndrome pathogenesis: knowledge and uncertainties

Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2018 Nov;30(6):664-673. doi: 10.1097/BOR.0000000000000555.


Purpose of review: Antisynthetase syndrome (ASyS) is an acquired myopathy characterized by the presence of myositis-specific autoantibodies directed against tRNA-synthetases. ASyS is potentially life threatening due to lung involvement and treatment remains a challenge to date. With symptoms not limited to muscles but also involving lung, skin and joints, ASyS appears specific and has a particular pathogenesis, different from the other inflammatory myopathies. This review is intended to discuss the current understanding of ASyS pathogenesis, pointing its current knowledge and also the crucial prospects that may lead to critical improvement of ASyS care.

Recent findings: Regarding ASyS pathogenesis, initiation of the disease seems to arise in a multifactorial context, with first lesions occurring within the lungs. This may lead to aberrant self-antigen exposure and tolerance breakdown. The consequences are abnormal activation of both innate and adaptive immunity, resulting in the patients with favourable genetic background to autoimmune-mediated organ lesions. Immune and nonimmune roles of the antigen, as well as antigen presentation leading to specific T-cell and B-cell activation and to the production of specific autoantibodies belong to the disease process.

Summary: This work aims to detail ASyS pathogenesis understanding, from initiation to the disease propagation and target tissue lesions, in order to considering future treatment directions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity*
  • Autoantibodies / immunology*
  • Autoantigens / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Myositis / immunology*


  • Autoantibodies
  • Autoantigens

Supplementary concepts

  • Antisynthetase syndrome