A review of the history, production, characterics and availability of the standards and reference preparations in the field of ANA determination is given. For ANA of the homogeneous type and for anti-DNA standard reagents are recognized by the WHO. This enables the expression of quantitative results in international units, leading to a decrease of interlaboratory variations. For the other types of nuclear fluorescence and for anti-Sm, anti-Ro (SS-A), anti-La (SS-B), anti-Scl 70 and anti-Jo-1, reference reagents are made available by the Arthritis Foundation (AF) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the USA. For anti-nRNP, a WHO reference reagent exists. The use of the above materials is advocated. Requests for WHO standards should be directed to: Dept. of Reagents CLB, P.O. Box 9190, 1006 AD Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and for AF/CDC reagents to: AF/CDC ANA Ref. Lab., Immunology 1 - 1202 A 25, CDC, Atlanta GA 30333, USA.