Clinical significance of anti-NOR90 antibodies in systemic sclerosis and idiopathic interstitial pneumonia

AbstractObjectiveAnti-NOR90 antibodies are usually found in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc); however, their clinical relevance remains obscure. We developed an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for measuring them to investigate the clinical features of patients with anti-NOR90 antibodies.MethodsSerum samples from 1,252 patients with various conditions from Nagoya University Hospital and 244 patients with idiopathic interstitial pneumonia (IIP) from Tosei General Hospital were included. Anti-NOR90 antibodies were assayed by an ELISA using the recombinant protein produced by in vitro transcription/translation.ResultsFive (0.4%) patients in the Nagoya University Hospital cohort had anti-NOR90 antibodies. One patient with diffuse cutaneous SSc, 3 with limited cutaneous SSc, and 1 with Raynaud’s disease were positive for anti-NOR90 antibodies. Anti-NOR90 antibodies were found more frequently in patients with systemic scleroderma-spectrum disorders (SSDs) than without SSDs (5/316 vs. 0/936, P<0.00101) and were found more frequently in patients with SSc than without SSc (4/249 vs. 0/528, P<0.0104) in the systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases cohort. Three of the 4 anti-NOR90-positive SSc patients had interstitial lung disease (ILD), and 2 of those 4 had cancer. Three (1.2%) patients in the Tosei General Hospital cohort had anti-NOR90 antibodies. All 3 of the anti-NOR90-positive IIP patients had gastrointestinal tract involvement, and 2 of those 3 had cancer or skin lesions observed in SSc.ConclusionsAlthough anti-NOR90 antibodies are rarely found in clinics, our ELISA is useful for their detection. Further studies are needed to confirm the association of anti-NOR90 antibodies with ILD and cancer in SSc and IIP patients.