Anti-endothelial cell antibodies (AECA) are a heterogeneous class of antibodies whose role in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases with vascular involvement has been extensively studied. Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is one of the systemic autoimmune diseases in which endothelial dysfunction is well defined and important in the development of the disease. AECA are present in the serum samples of many patients with SSc. Depending on the detection method and on patient selection, 22–86% of patients test positive for AECA. Among the demonstrated clinical associations, lung and peripheral vascular involvement are the most common. In this paper, the methods of detection, various molecular specificities and the possible pathogenic mechanisms of AECA in SSc are reviewed.
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Competing interests None.
Provenance and Peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.