Objective: To determine the frequency, clinical associations, and any major histocompatibility complex correlations of antifibrillarin antibodies in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc).
Methods: Antifibrillarin antibodies were determined by indirect immunofluorescence, immunoblotting, and immunoprecipitation, and HLA class II alleles by DNA oligotyping, in a large cohort of SSc patients.
Results: Antifibrillarin was found in 8% of 335 SSc sera and was significantly more common in blacks (16%) than whites (5%), in males (33%) than females (14%), and in patients with cardiac, renal, or gut involvement. The HLA class II haplotype DRB1*1302, DQB1*0604 was found significantly more frequently in SSc patients with antifibrillarin compared with race-matched normal controls and 260 SSc patients without antifibrillarin. In addition, 1 or more of the HLA-DQB1 alleles *0604, *0301, *0602, and/or *0302 was found in all antifibrillarin-positive patients, and 62% of the antifibrillarin-positive patients had 2 of these HLA-DQB1 alleles, a highly significant difference from both race-matched normal controls and antifibrillarin-negative SSc patients.
Conclusion: Antifibrillarin, although an infrequent nucleolar autoantibody, is a marker for severe SSc, especially in blacks and males, and is strongly associated with a unique HLA haplotype, as well as with combinations of certain HLA-DQB1 alleles.