Antinuclear autoantibodies (ANA) are highly informative biomarkers in autoimmune diagnostics. The increasing demand for effective test systems, however, has led to the development of a confusingly large variety of different platforms. One of them, the indirect immunofluorescence (IIF), is regarded as the common gold standard for ANA screening, as described in a position statement by the American College of Rheumatology in 2009. Technological solutions have been developed aimed at standardization and automation of IIF to overcome methodological limitations and subjective bias in IIF interpretation. In this review, we present the EUROPattern Suite, a system for computer-aided immunofluorescence microscopy (CAIFM) including automated acquisition of digital images and evaluation of IIF results. The system was originally designed for ANA diagnostics on human epithelial cells, but its applications have been extended with the latest system update version 1.5 to the analysis of antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) and anti-dsDNA antibodies.
Keywords: Antinuclear antibody; EUROPattern Suite; HEp-2 cells; autoimmunity; automated immunofluorescence analysis; systemic rheumatic diseases.
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