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Pitfalls of formalin fixation for determination of antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies.
  1. S M Chowdhury,
  2. V Broomhead,
  3. G P Spickett,
  4. R Wilkinson
  1. Regional Department of Immunology, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.


    Sera can produce nuclear or perinuclear immunofluorescence staining in neutrophils which may be caused by antibodies with differing antigenic specificities. These include perinuclear antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (P-ANCA), granulocyte specific antinuclear antibody (GS-ANA), and antinuclear antibody (ANA). There is controversy over the value of formalin fixation of neutrophils in differentiating antibodies giving selective or preferential reaction with the nuclear or perinuclear area of neutrophils. In a comparative study of 77 sera, formalin fixation caused inconsistency, nonspecific effects, and false positivity owing to enhanced fluorescence. If formalin fixed neutrophils are used in the routine diagnostic laboratory, this will add confusion to the interpretation of the ANCA assay.

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