Anti-nuclear antibodies are
antibodiesdirected against the cell nucleus. They are raised in several conditions, usually in an auto-immune condition where the immune systemmakes antibodies to fight its own body. Normally a test (see External Links) is administered in people with many arthritic type symptoms or skin rashes to exclude systemic lupus erythematosus(SLE). The rashes could be over both cheeks and shaped like a butterfly, or a wolf. They are known to affect almost any part of the body including kidneys and brain.
A high ANA titer may indicate systemic
lupus erythematosus(SLE). SLE can be present with titers from 1 to 40 and higher. Almost all people with SLE have a high ANA titer. However, most people with a high ANA titer do not have SLE. Only about one-third of people who are referred to a rheumatologist for high ANA titers are diagnosed with SLE. Other conditions may cause a high ANA titer. About 30% to 40% of people with rheumatoid arthritishave a high ANA titer.
Other conditions include
autoimmune diseases, such as scleroderma, Sjögren's syndrome, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and myositis
Although an ANA titer may help support a diagnosis for these conditions, it is not used by itself to confirm a diagnosis. A thorough medical history, physical examination, and other tests are needed to confirm a suspected autoimmune disease.
Some apparently healthy individuals have high levels of antinuclear antibodies. For instance, some people with a family history of autoimmune disease may have a high ANA titer. The higher the titer, however, the more likely it is that the person has an autoimmune disease.
* [http://www.uptodate.com/patients/content/topic.do?topicKey=~ooNN6hmZimjZJE UpToDate Patient Information: Antinuclear antibodies (ANA]
* [http://www.ii.bham.ac.uk/clinicalimmunology/CISimagelibrary Neuroimmunology, The Medical School, Birmingham University] - Abid R Karim, Birmingham UK
* [http://www.labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/ana/test.html ANA: The Test]
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