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Keywords:

  • Scleroderma;
  • systemic sclerosis;
  • Australian Aborigine;
  • Scl-70;
  • anticentromere antibody

Abstract

Scleroderma (systemic sclerosis) has not been reported before in Australian Aborigines. We describe in detail a community middle-aged Aboriginal woman whose diffuse scleroderma terminated fatally with a renal crisis. Moreover, we have identified a further five Aboriginal patients on the South Australian Scleroderma Register (two with diffuse, two with limited and one with overlap scleroderma), a number consistent with that expected from the 2001 census data for our state. However, an analysis of all antinuclear antibody (ANA) requests from the Top End of Australia over a 6-year period revealed only two Aborigines with low titre anticentromere antibody (despite frequent occurrence of ANA with other specificities). Neither of these Aborigines had features of scleroderma. In conclusion, scleroderma does occur in indigenous Australians but further studies are needed to confirm the apparent infrequency of centromere-associated limited scleroderma (which is the commonest form of scleroderma in our Caucasian population). (Intern Med J 2005; 35: 60–62)