Clinical significance of antinuclear antibodies in systemic rheumatic diseases

M Hietarinta, O Lassila
Annals of Medicine 1996, 28 (4): 283-91
Autoantibodies directed to intracellular antigens can be detected in many systemic rheumatic diseases. In this review, we discuss the clinical significance of antinuclear antibodies (ANA) associated with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), Slögren's syndrome, scleroderma and polymyositis/dermatomyositis, the immunogenetic factors associated with these four autoimmune diseases, and the possible role of autoantibodies in the etiopathogenesis of autoimmune disease. The antibodies associated with systemic rheumatic diseases serve as important tools in the initial diagnosis, and they are also useful in the evaluation of prognosis. However, for correct conclusions, the autoantibody findings should be carefully considered and interpreted in clinical context.

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