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Scand J Immunol. 2006 Sep;64(3):227-35.

Autoantibody determination in the diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus.

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Arthritis and Immunology Program, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, 825 NE 13th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA.


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease that usually develops in young women aged 18-50 years and is characterized by the presence of autoantibodies. Diagnosis is difficult as SLE is a great imitator of other diseases. When SLE is suspected clinically in a patient (involvement of two or more organ systems), an initial laboratory evaluation would be antinuclear antibody (ANA) testing. If ANA is negative, SLE is unlikely and results positive at less than 1:40 strongly argue against SLE. Other explanations for organ system involvement should be pursued. Results positive at greater than 1:40 may merit further evaluation for SLE and at times referral to a rheumatologist for a full SLE evaluation. While the American College of Rheumatology classification criteria for SLE are primarily a tool for research, they may be useful clinically, in that those patients fulfilling four or more criteria are highly likely to have SLE.

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