Mixed connective tissue disease pathophysiology

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Shaghayegh Habibi, M.D.[2]


MCTD is a systemic autoimmune disease that is characterized by overlapping symptoms of two or more systemic autoimmune diseases (SLERADMpolymyositis, and scleroderma) and the presence of antibodies against U1snRNP. Primary pathogenesis in MCTD include vasculopathy leading to tissue ischemia, immunological and inflammatory processes and fibrosis caused by excessive synthesis of collagen and other proteins of matrix. In MCTD associated conditions include secondary Sjogren’s syndrome and trigeminal neuralgia. A significant association between U1RNP disease and HLA-DR4 and DR154-61 is detected. Gross pathology of skin may include photo-distributed erythematosus annular lesions, papulosquamous lesions, Telangiectasia, and Sclerodactyly and the skin histopathological findings include poor and lichenoid interface dermatitis and suprabasilar exocytosis around necrotic keratinocytes.



The pathogenesis of mixed connective tissue disease is as follows:[1][2][3][4]


  • In MCTD, the frequency of HLA-DR4 is increased compared with healthy individuals in worldwide studies.[4]
  • A significant association between U1RNP disease and HLA-DR4 and DR154-61 is detected.

Associated Conditions

In MCTD associated conditions include:[3]

Gross Pathology

Microscopic Pathology


  1. Tani C, Carli L, Vagnani S, Talarico R, Baldini C, Mosca M, Bombardieri S (2014). "The diagnosis and classification of mixed connective tissue disease". J. Autoimmun. 48-49: 46–9. doi:10.1016/j.jaut.2014.01.008. PMID 24461387.
  2. Thongpooswan S, Tushabe R, Song J, Kim P, Abrudescu A (August 2015). "Mixed Connective Tissue Disease and Papillary Thyroid Cancer: A Case Report". Am J Case Rep. 16: 517–9. doi:10.12659/AJCR.894176. PMC 4530986. PMID 26245523.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Latuśkiewicz-Potemska J, Zygmunt A, Biernacka-Zielińska M, Stańczyk J, Smolewska E (October 2013). "Mixed connective tissue disease presenting with progressive scleroderma symptoms in a 10-year-old girl". Postepy Dermatol Alergol. 30 (5): 329–36. doi:10.5114/pdia.2013.38365. PMC 3858664. PMID 24353496.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Ciang NC, Pereira N, Isenberg DA (March 2017). "Mixed connective tissue disease-enigma variations?". Rheumatology (Oxford). 56 (3): 326–333. doi:10.1093/rheumatology/kew265. PMID 27436003.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Magro CM, Crowson AN, Regauer S (June 1997). "Mixed connective tissue disease. A clinical, histologic, and immunofluorescence study of eight cases". Am J Dermatopathol. 19 (3): 206–13. PMID 9185904.
  6. Dabiri G, Falanga V (November 2013). "Connective tissue ulcers". J Tissue Viability. 22 (4): 92–102. doi:10.1016/j.jtv.2013.04.003. PMC 3930159. PMID 23756459.
  7. Bodolay E, Szekanecz Z, Dévényi K, Galuska L, Csípo I, Vègh J, Garai I, Szegedi G (May 2005). "Evaluation of interstitial lung disease in mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD)". Rheumatology (Oxford). 44 (5): 656–61. doi:10.1093/rheumatology/keh575. PMID 15716315.

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