Anti-Ro/SSA and La/SSB antibodies

Autoimmunity. 2005 Feb;38(1):55-63. doi: 10.1080/08916930400022954.


The Ro/La system is considered as an heterogeneous antigenic complex, constituted by three different proteins (52 kDa Ro, 60 kDa Ro and La) and four small RNAs particles. Anti-Ro/SSA are the most prevalent specificity among many autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), SS/SLE overlap syndrome, subacute cutaneous LE (SCLE), neonatal lupus and primary biliary cirrhosis. In contrast, anti-La/SSB is more associated with Sjögren's syndrome (SS). The differences between 52 kDa, 60 kDa Ro and La could explain why different assays did not show equivalent performance in anti-Ro and anti-La autoantibodies detection. The RNA precipitation assay had the highest sensitivity and specificity, usually considered as the reference methods. CIE is considered the most reliable to detect anti-Ro/SSA antibodies in routine practice, performing better than immunoblotting (IB) and some ELISAs. It shows a high sensitivity (89%) and specificity (100%). ELISA is generally considered a safe, rapid, sensitive and specific tecnique. Therefore, its high sensitivity often corresponds to a very low clinical specificity and the assay can give false positive results. Therefore, it is very important to search anti-Ro and anti-La only in selected patients, using the assay with high specificity and good predictive value, in order to have clinically significant and true positive results.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / blood*
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / history
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay / methods
  • Immunoassay / statistics & numerical data
  • Immunoglobulin Isotypes / blood
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / immunology


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Immunoglobulin Isotypes
  • SS-A antibodies
  • SS-B antibodies