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Systemic sclerosis in a patient with muscle dystrophy


Systemic sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that can result in lung fibrosis, and is strongly associated with the presence of serum anti-topoisomerase-I autoantibodies. A young man with genetic muscular dystrophy caused by titin-cap/telethonin (TCAP) gene mutation, developed a severe restrictive lung disease due to a fibrosing interstitial pneumonia secondary to systemic sclerosis with positive anti-topoisomerase-I antibodies. Using amino acid sequence alignment and protein structure modelling, we found that mutant telethonin exposes an amino acid sequence with significant homology to an immunodominant site of topoisomerase-I. Abnormal telethonin results in a loss of integrity of the sarcomere structure, which might result in rhabdomyolysis and abnormal protein exposure to the immune system. Our preliminary analysis suggests a possible role for mutant sarcomere protein telethonin as an immunogenic target recognised by anti-topoisomerase-I antibodies, which could explain the development of systemic sclerosis in this particular patient.

  • Immunology
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Drugs: respiratory system
  • Connective tissue disease
  • Genetics

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