Diagnosing systemic lupus erythematosus: new-generation immunoassays for measurement of anti-dsDNA antibodies are an effective alternative to the Farr technique and the Crithidia luciliae immunofluorescence test

Lupus. 2010 Jul;19(8):906-12. doi: 10.1177/0961203310362995. Epub 2010 Feb 23.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic performance of four new enzyme immunoassays (EIAs) for anti-double-stranded-DNA (anti-dsDNA) antibodies, in comparison with the Farr assay and the Crithidia luciliae immunofluorescence test (CLIFT). To this purpose, sera from four patient groups were collected: 52 sera from patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE); 28 from patients with other connective tissue diseases (CTD); 36 from patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection; and 24 from those with acute viral infection. All sera were tested for anti-dsDNA antibodies by four EIA methods using a different antigenic DNA source [synthetic oligonucleotide (Method A), circular plasmid (Method B), recombinant (Method C), and purified extracted (Method D)], and by CLIFT and Farr assays. The diagnostic sensitivity of the assays was as follows: 84.6% (Method A), 73% (B), 82.7% (C), 84.6% (D), 55.8% (CLIFT), and 78.8% (Farr). Specificity was 82.9% (A), 97.7% (B), 96.5% (C), 94.3% (D), 96.5% (CLIFT), and 90.9% (Farr). From these data, we can conclude that the new-generation EIA methods evaluated in this study have higher sensitivity than the CLIFT and Farr assays and, with the exception of Method A, have specificity similar to the CLIFT and slightly higher than the Farr assay. These findings suggest that EIA tests may replace CLIFT as a screening test and the Farr assay as a specific test, for anti-dsDNA antibody detection.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear* / blood
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear* / immunology
  • Crithidia / immunology*
  • DNA / immunology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods*
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique / methods*
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic* / blood
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic* / diagnosis
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic* / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Radioimmunoprecipitation Assay / methods*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • DNA