Automated tests of ANA immunofluorescence as throughput autoantibody detection technology: strengths and limitations

BMC Med. 2014 Mar 3;12:38. doi: 10.1186/1741-7015-12-38.

Abstract

Anti-nuclear antibody (ANA) assay is a screening test used for almost all autoimmune rheumatic diseases, and in a number of these cases, it is a diagnostic/classification parameter. In addition, ANA is also a useful test for additional autoimmune disorders. The indirect immunofluorescence technique on monolayers of cultured epithelial cells is the current recommended method because it has higher sensitivity than solid phase assays. However, the technique is time-consuming and requires skilled operators. Automated ANA reading systems have recently been developed, which offer the advantage of faster and much easier performance as well as better harmonization in the interpretation of the results. Preliminary validation studies of these systems have given promising results in terms of analytical specificity and reproducibility. However, these techniques require further validation in clinical studies and need improvement in their recognition of mixed or less common staining patterns.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / analysis*
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / blood
  • Autoantibodies / analysis*
  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • Autoimmune Diseases / blood
  • Autoimmune Diseases / diagnosis
  • Automation, Laboratory / methods
  • Automation, Laboratory / standards*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect / methods
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect / standards*
  • Humans
  • Reproducibility of Results

Substances

  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Autoantibodies