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What is Anti-dsDNA Antibody test?

Anti-double-stranded DNA antibodies are a type of antinuclear autoantibodies that are usually found in the bloodstream of lupus patients. Autoantibodies are a specific type of antibodies that our body produces against its own cells. Antinuclear antibodies, as the name suggests, attack and destroy components present inside the nucleus of healthy cells, affecting the normal functioning of the body. Anti-dsDNA antibodies specifically target the DNA - the genetic material in the nucleus. Presence of these antibodies triggers an inflammatory response in the body. 

Lupus is an autoimmune disease characterised by inflammation of various organs including the heart, lungs, blood vessels, kidneys and joints. 

An anti-dsDNA antibody test detects the presence of these autoantibodies in the bloodstream. It is mainly used as a diagnostic test for lupus. However, low levels of these antibodies may also indicate other autoimmune diseases such as Sjogren's syndrome.

  1. Why is an Anti-dsDNA Antibody test performed?
  2. How do you prepare for an Anti-dsDNA Antibody test?
  3. How is an Anti-dsDNA Antibody test performed?
  4. Anti-dsDNA Antibody test results and normal range

This test is mainly performed along with other autoantibody tests to diagnose lupus. Doctors order this test when someone displays the following symptoms:

This test can also be done to monitor disease activity in individuals who have already been diagnosed with lupus.

No specific preparations need to be done before the test. However, since a lab technician or healthcare provider will take a blood sample, you can wear something comfortable and loose so that the test can be performed with ease.

Your healthcare provider will collect a blood sample from a vein in your arm by inserting a sterile needle - you may or may not feel slight pain

Some common risks associated with blood tests are: 

  • Difficulty in obtaining the sample
  • Lightheadedness or fainting
  • Excessive bleeding in the area of blood withdrawal
  • Haematoma (accumulation of blood under the skin)
  • Infection at the site of needle insertion

Most of these risks can easily be reduced when proper precautionary measures are taken.

Once withdrawn, the blood sample will be added to a test apparatus which contains antigens (substances against which antibodies are produced). If the sample contains antibodies to specific antigens, both of these will bind with each other. Afterwards, an enzyme will be added to the apparatus to detect any colour changes which indicates the presence of anti-dsDNA in the sample.

Normal results:

When the test results are negative, it indicates the absence or very low level of anti-dsDNA; however, this does not exclude the diagnosis of lupus as according to statistics, only 50%-70% of individuals who have lupus are detected with anti-dsDNA in their blood.

The normal reference range for the test is <10 IU/mL.

Abnormal results:

 The following values indicate abnormal results:

  • 10-15 IU/mL: Borderline
  • >15 IU/mL: Positive
  • >400 IU/mL: Maximum value

A positive result indicates that the results are abnormal.

A high level of anti-dsDNA may be indicative of lupus. In such a case, the doctor will perform several other tests to confirm the diagnosis.

Low to moderate levels of autoantibodies indicate the presence of autoimmune disorders such as Sjogren’s syndrome and mixed connective tissue disease.

Disclaimer: All results must be clinically correlated with the patient’s complaints to make a complete and accurate diagnosis. The above information is provided from a purely educational point of view and is in no way a substitute for medical advice by a qualified doctor.

(Health checkup app)

References

  1. American College of Rheumatology [internet]. Rheumatology Research Foundation. Antinuclear Antibodies (ANA)
  2. Pagana KD, Pagana TJ, Pagana TN. Mosby’s Diagnostic and Laboratory Test Reference. 12th ed. Saint Louis, MO: Mosby, Inc. Pp:73,74.
  3. Lupus Research Alliance [internet]. NY, U.S. ANA Testing
  4. Johns Hopkins Medicine [Internet]. The Johns Hopkins University, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and Johns Hopkins Health System; Lupus Blood Tests
  5. National Health Service [internet]. UK; DNA Antibody (Anti-Double Stranded DNA)

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