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Screening test for rheumatic diseases: a combined enzyme immunoassay of rheumatoid factors and antibodies to DNA and extractable nuclear antigens.
  1. P Kurki,
  2. M Gripenberg,
  3. P Partanen,
  4. T Helve
  1. Department of Pathology, University of Helsinki, Finland.


    Three hundred and one sera from patients with rheumatic and other diseases were investigated using a simple enzyme immunoassay for screening of rheumatoid factors and antinuclear antibodies. The assay had a sensitivity of 77% for systemic lupus erythematosus, 90% for the primary sicca syndrome, and 89% for rheumatoid arthritis. Only 13% of sera from patients with chronic non-rheumatic diseases were positive. The test was further evaluated in a group of patients with suspected rheumatic disease who were followed up for six to 12 months. The test was positive in 16 of 17 sera from patients with connective tissue diseases but in only seven of 36 sera (19%) from patients with non-inflammatory joint diseases. None of the four patients with reactive arthritis was positive by this test. The sensitivity of the assay was comparable with that of the agglutination and immunofluorescence tests for rheumatoid factors and antinuclear factors. For the screening of rheumatoid factor and antinuclear antibodies this kind of test panel offers a simple alternative to the conventional tests for small clinical laboratories and for those in which the autoantibody tests could be automated, as the assay can be performed in one working day and only one dilution of serum is needed to obtain a quantitative result.

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