WHAT IS ANTINUCLEAR ANTIBODY (ANA) TEST?
Antinuclear antibodies are antibodies the body produces against its own DNA and nuclear material that cause tissue damage and characterise autoimmune diseases. Highest titers occur in SLE. The immunofluorescent procedure results in four characteristic staining patterns, which help differentiate the type of connective tissue disease. These patterns and their specificities include the homogeneous pattern specific for SLE and other connective diseases; the peripheral pattern specific for SLE; the speckled pattern specific for the mixed connective disease, SLE, Sjögren’s syndrome, polymyositis, dermatomyositis, and scleroderma; and the nucleolar pattern specific for scleroderma and Sjögren’s syndrome. These patterns, however, are not diagnostic of the various diseases. If positive results are obtained, the anti-DNA test should be performed to aid differentiation of SLE.