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Accurate interpretation of antinuclear antibodies test key to confirming autoimmune disease
Date:1/4/2011

The presence of antinuclear antibodies (ANA) indicates the possibility of autoimmunity and the indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) assay on HEp-2 cells is the standard blood test (ANA-HEp-2) used to detect ANA. However, studies have shown that a "false-positive" ANA test occurs in up to 13% of healthy individuals. In such cases the test detects the presence of autoantibodies that apparently are not associated with autoimmunity. Researchers from Brazil have now uncovered distinguishing characteristics of the ANA test in healthy individuals and patients with autoimmune disease, reducing the likelihood of an erroneous autoimmune disorder diagnosis. Their findings are published in the January 2011 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR).

The immune system is responsible for protecting the body against foreign invaders and infection, but in some individuals the immune system repeatedly attacks healthy cells in the body resulting in an autoimmune disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) autoimmune diseaseswhich include rheumatoid arthritis, Sjgren's syndrome, and systemic lupus erythematosusaffect up to 8% (22 million individuals) of the U.S. population.

The Brazilian research team, led by Luis Andrade, MD, PhD, from the Federal University of So Paulo, recruited 918 healthy individuals (634 females and 284 males) between the ages of 18 and 66 years for this study. In the control group were 153 patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases that included lupus (87), systemic sclerosis (45), Sjgren's syndrome (11) and idiopathic inflammatory myopathy (10). To determine the concentration of ANA in the blood, ANA-HEp-2 tests were run on all participants and considered positive if a well defined IIF pattern was identified.

"The ANA-HEp-2 test is positive in a sizable portion of the general population and our findings established distinguishing characteristics
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Contact: Dawn Peters
healthnews@wiley.com
781-388-8408
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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