Anti-DNA antibodies: a diagnostic and prognostic tool for systemic lupus erythematosus?

Autoimmunity. 2005 Feb;38(1):39-45. doi: 10.1080/08916930400022616.


The clinical impact of anti-DNA antibodies lies on their diagnostic power for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), being a formal classification criterion. In spite of such a disease association, low-avidity anti-DNA antibodies might also be part of the natural autoantibody repertoire. Their switch to pathogenic high-avidity autoantibodies is the result of the autoimmune process leading to SLE.Anti-DNA antibodies were shown to play a role in SLE pathogenesis and particularly in kidney damage. Accordingly, antibody titres might fluctuate in relation to disease activity, but their prognostic value for flares is still debated.Several methods for anti-DNA detection were described and there is evidence that the assays identify different antibodies with different prognostic value. The results of a multicenter study on four different routine tests for anti-dsDNA antibody detection showed that: (i) Farr assay displays the best diagnostic specificity/sensitivity for SLE, followed by Crithidia luciliae method (CLIFT), (ii) the new generation of solid phase assay (EliA) shows an increased sensibility versus the classical enzyme linked immune assay (ELISA) but a decreased specificity. Antibody titre detected by EliA and Farr assay correlated with disease activity. These findings would suggest that more than one assay should be useful for SLE diagnosis and monitoring.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / blood*
  • Antibody Affinity
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Immunoassay / methods
  • Immunoassay / statistics & numerical data
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / diagnosis*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / etiology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology*
  • Lupus Nephritis / etiology
  • Lupus Nephritis / immunology
  • Prognosis
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear