Portrait of the HEp2 cell, the pet of immunofluorescence professionals


HEp2 cells -- centromere B

Anti-Centromere B on HEp2 cells

HEp2 cells are held dear in autoimmune diagnostics. They are invaluable for people engaged in analysing autoantibodies, as E. coli is for molecular biologists or mice for toxicologists.

In spite of a wide range of other suitable methods and technologies, determination of autoantibodies with indirect immuno-fluorescence assays (IFA) on human epithelioma (HEp2) cells still contributes significantly to the diagnosis of autoimmune diseases. The widely recognised advantages of this method are high sensitivity and a broad spectrum of antibodies that can be analysed simultaneously. In addition to mere detection of antibodies a characteristic fluorescence pattern and staining of metaphase and cytoplasmic cells offer supplementary information.

When an autoimmune disease is suspected, the HEp-2 test usually is the first line test. Any positive result is then followed up by a step-wise diagnostic approach, including other immunological tests like ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) for single antibody specificities or immunoblot tests. Continue reading

Found last Week on the Internet


Found last Week on the Internet, part 1: Up-to-date Articles on Autoimmunity and Autoimmune Diseases

 

Duroux-Richard I, Jorgensen C, Apparailly F. miRNAs and rheumatoid arthritis – promising novel biomarkers. Swiss Med Wkly. 2011 Mar 18;141:w13175 – doi: 10.4414/smw.2011.13175 – Free full text available! – Today, the most challenging issue in the field of rheumatoid arthritis is the identification of biomarkers for early disease diagnosis and for prediction drug response. micro(mi)-RNAs certainly represent an realistic option for optimal diagnosis an disease treatment.

 

Roux CH, Breuil V, Valerio L, Amoretti N, Brocq O, Albert C, Grisot C, Allam Y, Chevalier P, Pradier C, Euller-Ziegler L. Etanercept Compared to Intraarticular Corticosteroid Injection in Rheumatoid Arthritis: Double-blind, Randomized Pilot Study.  J Rheumatol. 2011 Mar 16. [Epub ahead of print]. – Patients with rheumatoid arthritis who had persistent Continue reading

Autoantibodies precede manifestation of Lupus by years


Antibodies to various autoantigens may be present in sera of patients who will develop Lupus erythematosus up to seven years before onset of disease symptoms

 

Immunoflurescence image of anti-dsDNA-antibodies for the diagnosis of SLE

Autoantibodies against dsDNA are diagnostic markers for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.

Autoantibodies are specific and sensitive biomarkers for autoimmune diseases and indispensible diagnostic tools. They may also be involved in pathogenic processes underlying the disease and will potentially occur in sera of apparently healthy people long before onset of the first symptoms.

C. Eriksson, S. Raantapaa-Dalquist and their colleagues from Umeå University in Sweden have focused on this preclinical phase in the development of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). Continue reading

Blood Tests for the Diagnosis of Lupus


Blood Tests for the Diagnosis of Lupus

Welcome to our Autoimmunity Blog! The subject of this post is blood tests for the diagnosis of lupus.  

Lupus facial rash in a typical wolf-like distribution.

Lupus facial rash in a typical wolf-like distribution.

The emphasis of this article is on the detection of autoantibodies relevant to the diagnosis of SLE. Specifically, this includes detection of ANA (antinuclear antibodies) by immunofluorescence and individual tests for various ANA, including anti-dsDNA, anti-Sm, anti-U1RNP (also anti-U1-RNP or anti-RNP), and anti-histone, as well as anti-SS-A/Ro and anti-SS-B/La.  

Tests for ANA are also highly useful in differential diagnostics, especially when diseases with symptoms resembling SLE must be distinguished from lupus itself, for example fibromyalgia, infections like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, or certain malignant tumours, particularly lymphoma and leukaemia.  Continue reading