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Antibody Tests for Lupus - Topic Overview

Antibody tests are a set of blood tests that check for specific antibodies to help clarify the diagnosis of lupus. They include:

  • Anti-dsDNA (antibodies to DNA).
  • Antinuclear antibody (ANA)
  • Anti-RNP.
  • Anti-Smith (Sm).
  • Anti-SS-A (also called Ro).
  • Anti-SS-B (also called La).

These antibody tests are often positive in lupus and can provide support for a diagnosis if the clinical criteria are unclear or if the ANA test is negative but lupus is strongly suspected.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Lupus

Lupus is an autoimmune disease. The immune system's job is to fight foreign substances in the body, such as germs and viruses. But in autoimmune diseases, the immune system attacks healthy tissues, not germs. Lupus is a disease that can affect many parts of the body. Lupus can involve the joints, the skin, the kidneys, the lungs, the heart, and/or the brain. If you have lupus, it may affect several parts of your body. Usually, one person doesn't have all the possible symptoms.

Read the Frequently Asked Questions About Lupus article > >

  • Anti-SS-A (Ro) and anti-SS-B (La) antibodies are not specific for lupus and are found commonly in Sjögren's syndrome. But these tests are useful in helping women with lupus who are considering pregnancy. If a woman who has these antibodies becomes pregnant, she may need more careful monitoring of the fetus, since these antibodies are associated with a higher risk of the baby being born with neonatal lupus syndrome or a heart defect called congenital heart block.
  • High titers of anti-dsDNA are usually seen only in people who have lupus.
  • A positive anti-Sm test is a specific marker for lupus.

Anti-dsDNA tests can be repeated at intervals to monitor how the disease is progressing.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: May 10, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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