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Comparing substrates for the detection of ANAs
  1. Andrew Williams1,
  2. Carolyn Van der Brink1,
  3. Cathy Delaney1,
  4. Tri Giang Phan1,
  5. Stephen Adelstein1
  1. 1Central Sydney Immunology Laboratory, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Missenden Road, Camperdown, NSW 2050, Australia

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    The article by Pollock and Toh1 about the detection of antinuclear antibodies (ANAs) using HEp-2 cells transfected with Ro/SS-A raises the important question of the optimal method for screening of sera from patients with suspected autoimmune connective tissue disease. We have directly compared the performance of the same Hep-2 transfected cells (Hep2000; Immuno Concepts, California, USA) with Hep-2 untransfected cells (Quantafluor; Sanofi Diagnostics Pasteur Inc, Minnesota, USA). The results from our study combined with a reassessment of Pollock and Toh's data cast doubt on their conclusion that Hep-2 transfected cells are more reliable than other substrates for detecting clinically meaningful ANAs.

    Sera from 258 patients referred to our laboratory for ANA testing were analysed for the presence, titre, and pattern of ANAs using Ro/SS-A transfected and untransfected HEp-2 cells. Indirect immunofluorescence was performed at a screening dilution of 1/40 and titred to 1/2560, and slides were reviewed independently by at least two scientists. In general, the correlation between the two substrates for detection of ANAs was good (table 1); discrepancies that are unlikely to be of clinical relevance were found for low titre positives. The …

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