The objective was to investigate the relationship between the presence of different types of antinuclear antibodies (ANA) in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) and the presence of clinical features. Sera from 230 patients with SSc were tested for the presence of ANA, including anticentromere antibodies (ab), antitopoisomerase I ab, anti-U1 RNP ab and antinucleolar ab, including anti-Th RNP, anti-U3 RNP and anti-U17 RNP. Clinical features were registered prospectively in a clinical database. Eighty-two per cent of the patients were women. The median age was 58 yr (45-67, quartiles) and median age at disease onset was 44 (30-55) yr. ANA were found in 86% of the patients (anticentromere: 34%; antitopoisomerase I: 14%; anti-U1 RNP: 6.5%; antinucleolar total: 16%; anti-Th RNP: 2.2%; anti-U3 RNP: 3.5%; anti-U17 RNP: 0%). Anticentromere ab were found to be related to a high prevalence of calcinosis, telangiectasia, digital ulcers, acrosclerosis, primary biliary cirrhosis, isolated reduction of pulmonary diffusing capacity, and a low prevalence of radiological evidence of pulmonary fibrosis. Antitopoisomerase I ab were associated with a high prevalence of digital joint deformity, distal osteolysis, radiological signs of pulmonary fibrosis, a low prevalence of calcinosis and late onset of disease. Anti-U1 RNP ab were related to a high prevalence of arthritis and myositis, a low prevalence of calcinosis, and early disease onset. The presence of antinucleolar ab, including anti-U3 RNP and anti-Th RNP, was not significantly related to any particular clinical features in this study; possibly due to the small number of patients with these ab. The presence of anticentromere, antitopoisomerase I and anti-U1 RNP ab in the serum was also found to have previously described clinical correlations in a group of Danish SSc patients.