Antinuclear antibodies and their detection methods in diagnosis of connective tissue diseases: a journey revisited

Diagn Pathol. 2009 Jan 2;4:1. doi: 10.1186/1746-1596-4-1.


It has been more than 50 years since antinuclear antibodies were first discovered and found to be associated with connective tissue diseases. Since then different methods have been described and used for their detection or confirmation. For many decades immunofluorescent antinuclear antibody test has been the "gold standard" in the diagnosis of these disorders. However to increase the sensitivity and specificity of antinuclear antibody detection further approaches were explored. Today a battery of newer techniques are available some of which are now considered better and are competing with the older methods. This article provides an overview on advancement in antinuclear antibody detection methods, their future prospects, advantages, disadvantages and guidelines for use of these tests.