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anti-nuclear antibodies

ANA is an type of antibody that your body develops in some types of autoimmune diseases. ANA are a unique group of antibodies that have the ability to attack structures in the nucleus of cells. This is where they get their name. Anti-nuclear means that the antibodies attack the nucleus of your bodies cells. ANA is used in the diagnosis of SLE, Sjogren's syndrome, scleroderma, polymyositis, rheumatoid arthritis, and mixed connective tissue disease.

Many people have low levels of ANA in their blood. This tends to increase as we get older. It is possible to have higher levels of ANA and not have an autoimmune disease. It is rare for this to happen and when it does it is called a false positive. A normal ANA is anything that shows up as less than 1:310 in a blood titer. The higher the concentration the lower ratios such as.

1:40 positive
1:80 positive
1:160 positive
1:320 negative
1:420 negative

ANA test results show up in patterns. So if you get test results back from an ANA test it may show up as "Positive at 1:340 dilution with a homogenous pattern". These patterns show up when views under a powerful microscope. The common patterns of ANA are.

  • Homogenous (diffuse) - associated with SLE and mixed connective tissue disease

  • Speckled - associated with SLE, Sjogren's syndrome, scleroderma, polymyositis, rheumatoid arthritis, and mixed connective tissue disease

  • Nucleolar - associated with scleroderma and polymyositis

  • Outline pattern (peripheral) -associated with SLE

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