Evaluation of multiplexed fluorescent microsphere immunoassay for detection of autoantibodies to nuclear antigens

Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2004 Nov;11(6):1054-9. doi: 10.1128/CDLI.11.6.1054-1059.2004.


Antibodies to extractable nuclear antigens (ENA) are found in a variety of collagen vascular diseases. Determining the individual specificities of these antibodies is extremely useful in establishing the disease diagnosis and in some cases the prognosis. With a multiplexed fluorescent microsphere immunoassay, reactivity to five of the most diagnostically useful ENA was measured in 249 serum samples, including samples from 56 patients previously documented to have systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Results of the multiplexed assay were compared to results from established ENA enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs), and the agreement, sensitivity, and specificity, respectively, for the five ENA evaluated were as follows: SSA, 99.1, 100.0, and 98.8%; SSB, 98.6, 88.9, and 99.5%; Sm, 97.6, 95.8, and 97.9%; RNP, 97.2, 92.7, and 98.8%; Scl-70, 93.6, 50.0, and 99.0%. In the 56 confirmed SLE patients, the frequency of significant concentrations of autoantibodies with the multiplexed assay was 21.4% for SSA, 7.1% for SSB, 10.7% for Sm, 32.1% for RNP, and 0% for Scl-70. The new flow cytometric bead-based multiplexed assay showed excellent correlation with the well-established single-analyte ELISA methods for four of five the ENA markers investigated in this study. The most notable discrepancies between the two assays were for the Scl-70 antigen, which was most often resolved in favor of the multiplexed assay. Our studies show that the multiplexed microsphere-based immunoassay is a sensitive and specific method for the detection and semiquantitation of ENA antibodies in human sera.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / analysis*
  • Antigens, Nuclear / immunology*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique / methods*
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology*
  • Microspheres*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Antigens, Nuclear