Antinuclear antibodies: a contemporary nomenclature using HEp-2 cells

J Autoimmun. 2010 Nov;35(3):276-90. doi: 10.1016/j.jaut.2010.06.019. Epub 2010 Jul 22.


The choice of terms used to describe indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) staining patterns of autoantibodies binding to HEp-2 cells is at present quite varied and disordered because no accurate consensus on names and descriptions exist. The aim of our study was to propose a logical and ordered IIF classification taxonomy based on 29 different selected IIF patterns. In a preliminary project carried out at Statens Serum Institut it was first shown by use of a software programme named DOORS developed by Percepton Ltd, that reading of digitized images of HEp-2 patterns on an LCD monitor could be used instead of traditional microscopy. Digitized images of HEp-2 patterns were then used in the EU supported project named CANTOR (June 1998-July 2000) aiming to reach consensus among three clinical immunology expert centres and collaborating to attain a classification version that could be used to qualitatively and quantitatively test and train image recognitions skills of laboratory technicians against expert consensus. The usability of this classification version was then tested in a course consisting of training and certification. The conclusion was that participants in the training programme clearly increased their perceptive skills using images, terms, descriptions and the graphic and statistic tools in the self-administered DOORS programme and that software-assisted training could achieve a common and accurate level of visual pattern interpretation. All results from this project were reported to the European Commission but have not previously been published in scientific literature. This communication presents the final results of agreed image classifications.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / classification*
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / immunology
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / metabolism*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Biomarkers / metabolism*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Europe
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • Humans
  • Pattern Recognition, Automated*
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Transport
  • Terminology as Topic


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Biomarkers