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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Mixed connective tissue disease


Other Names for this Disease
  • MCTD
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Overview



What is mixed connective tissue disease?

What causes mixed connective tissue disease?

How might mixed connective tissue disorder be treated?


What is mixed connective tissue disease?

Mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) is a autoimmune disorder that causes overlapping features of three connective tissue disorders: lupus, scleroderma, and polymyositis. MCTD may also have features of rheumatoid arthritis. This condition is most often diagnosed in women in their 20's and 30's. Occasionally, children are affected.[1] At this time the cause of this condition is unknown.
Last updated: 1/9/2012

What causes mixed connective tissue disease?

Mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) is a term used by some experts to describe a collection of symptoms similar to those of systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, polymyositis, and dermatomyositis. At this time the cause of mixed connective tissue disease is poorly understood. It is an autoimmune disease and there have been many studies looking carefully at how the immune system is involved in patients with this disease.  Click here to learn more about autoimmune diseases.[2][3] 
Last updated: 9/15/2011

How might mixed connective tissue disorder be treated?

Currently there is not a cure for mixed connective tissue disorder (MCTD), however treatments to help control signs and symptoms of MCTD are available.[4][5] Treatment may involve over the counter or prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.  Glucocorticoids may be recommended in certain situations, such as during disease flares or should complications of MCTD arise (e.g., aseptic meningitis, myositis, pleurisy, pericarditis, and myocarditis).[4] Some people with MCTD require long term use of immune suppressant medications. The choice of medication is selected based on the patient's symptoms.[4][5] For example, if a person with MCTD has developed symptoms similar to those of lupus, medications typically prescribed for people with lupus may be recommended.[5]

You can find further general information regarding treatment of mixed connective tissue disorder at the following link to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research Web site:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mixed-connective-tissue-disease/DS00675/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs

The Cedars-Sinai Web site also provides information on this topic at the following link:
http://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Patients/Health-Conditions/Mixed-Connective-Tissue-Disease.aspx

Last updated: 1/9/2012

References
  1. Mixed connective tissue disease. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. February 20, 2010; http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mixed-connective-tissue-disease/DS00675. Accessed 2/9/2012.
  2. Hoffman RW. Mixed Connective Tissue Disease. eMedicine. August 2008; http://www.emedicine.com/med/TOPIC3417.HTM. Accessed 9/15/2011.
  3. Wozniacka A, Schwartz RA. Mixed Connective Tissue Disease. eMedicine. September 2009; http://www.emedicine.com/derm/TOPIC766.HTM. Accessed 9/15/2011.
  4. Bennett RM. Prognosis and treatment of mixed connective tissue disease. In: Basow, DS (Ed). UpToDate. Waltham, MA: UpToDate; 2012;
  5. Mixed connective tissue disease. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. February 20, 2010; http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mixed-connective-tissue-disease/DS00675/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs. Accessed 2/9/2012.