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Anti-nuclear antibodies

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In medicine, especially rheumatology, anti-nuclear antibodies are "autoantibodies directed against various nuclear antigens including DNA, RNA, histones, acidic nuclear proteins, or complexes of these molecular elements. Antinuclear antibodies are found in systemic autoimmune diseases including systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjogren's syndrome, scleroderma, polymyositis, and mixed connective tissue disease.[1]

Screening tests

A first and indirect measurement of these antibodies was the 1940-vintage lupus cell preparation, a microscopic procedure no longer used. In modern practice, the basic screening test is the anti-nuclear antibody titer (ANA). While not specific, a high ANA values suggests an autoimmune disease is present; it does not, however, exclude them. High values then justify more specific tests:[2]

Its sensitivity, in specific diseases, is:

Specific clinical tests

Specialized tests


  1. Anonymous (2019), Anti-nuclear antibodies (English). Medical Subject Headings. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  2. Peter H. Schur and Robert H. Scherling (2004), Chapter 5: Laboratory tests in rheumatic disorders, Practical Rheumatology (Third ed.), Mosby, ISBN 03230299396, p. 59
  3. p. 62
  4. J A Goldman (September 1989), "Anticentromere antibody in patients without CREST and scleroderma: association with active digital vasculitis, rheumatic and connective tissue disease.", Ann Rheum Dis. 48 (9): 771–775