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Clinica Chimica Acta
Volume 528, 2022, Pages 34-43

Laboratory evaluation of anti-dsDNA antibodies

Maaike Cockxa, Lieve Van Hoovelsb, etl.

Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Transplantation, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.


Antibodies to dsDNA are an important laboratory parameter for diagnosis, monitoring and classification of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). In clinical laboratories, several techniques are used to detect and quantify anti-dsDNA antibodies. Each technique has its advantages and disadvantages regarding sensitivity, specificity, avidity and assay procedure. Assays differ with respect to the antigen source (native versus synthetic versus molecular biological) used and the way the antigen is presented (e.g. in solution, covalently linked to a solid phase,…). Consequently, correlation between assays can be poor and standardization of anti-dsDNA antibody tests is challenging. We here provide an overview of the currently available anti-dsDNA tests frequently used in clinical laboratories [Crithidia luciliae immunofluorescence test (CLIFT), Enzyme linked immune sorbent assay (ELISA), fluoroenzyme immunoassay (FEIA), chemiluminisence immunoassay (CIA), multiplexed bead-based assays and Farr-RIA] and their performance characteristics. From this literature study, we concluded that performance characteristics differ between assays. Often, a combination of techniques is necessary for the best result interpretation.

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