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Anti-dsdna



Why Get Tested

To help diagnose and monitor lupus systemic lupus erythematosus SLE

When To Get Tested

When you have a positive ANA test and signs and symptoms associated with lupus such as persistent fatigue and weakness arthritis-like pain in one or more joints a red rash resembling a butterfly across the nose and cheeks and or skin sensitivity to light periodically when you have been diagnosed with lupus

Sample Required

A blood sample drawn from a vein in your arm

Test Preparation Needed

None




Common Questions


The anti-double stranded DNA anti-dsDNA test is used to help diagnose lupus systemic lupus erythematosus SLE in a person who has a positive result on a test for antinuclear antibody ANA and has clinical signs and symptoms that suggest lupus Anti-dsDNA is one of a group of autoantibodies called antinuclear antibodies that are produced by a person s immune system when it fails to distinguish between self and nonself ANA target substances found in the nucleus of cells Anti-dsDNA specifically target the genetic material DNA found in the nucleus causing organ and tissue damage The presence of anti-dsDNA in the blood is strongly associated with the autoimmune disorder lupus Typically an ANA test is the first test performed to evaluate an individual for an autoimmune disorder While a positive ANA test is seen in about 95 of lupus cases it may be seen in many other conditions as well The anti-dsDNA test is fairly specific for lupus however only 50-70 of people with lupus may be positive that is a negative anti-dsDNA does not rule out lupus If a person has a positive ANA an anti-dsDNA test may be used to distinguish lupus from other autoimmune disorders that have similar signs and symptoms An anti-dsDNA test may be ordered along with a test for anti-Sm Smith antibody another antinuclear autoantibody associated with lupus to help establish a diagnosis The anti-Sm test may be ordered as part of an extractable nuclear antigen ENA panel Depending upon clinical signs and the health practitioner s suspicions other autoantibodies may also be ordered to help distinguish between and rule out other autoimmune disorders Examples include tests for histone antibody drug-induced lupus and antiphospholipid antibodies The anti-dsDNA test may be used to monitor the severity of the disease in a person who has been diagnosed with lupus Those with lupus often have flare-ups in which symptoms worsen and then subside An increased anti-dsDNA level may be seen prior to and during these flare-ups In particular this test may be used to monitor lupus nephritis a serious complication of lupus that can cause kidney damage and inflammation This can lead to protein in the urine high blood pressure and kidney failure It occurs when the autoantibodies bind to antigens and become deposited in the kidneys

An anti-dsDNA test is ordered when a person shows signs and symptoms that could be due to lupus and has had a positive ANA test especially when the result of the ANA test presents as a homogeneous or speckled fluorescent pattern See the article on ANA for more on this Examples of some signs and symptoms of lupus include Muscle pain Arthritis-like pain in one or more joints but no or little joint damage Red rash that frequently resembles a butterfly across the nose and cheek areas malar rash Low-grade fever Persistent fatigue weakness Skin sensitivity to light Hair and weight loss Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet Inflammation and damage to organs and tissues including the kidneys lungs heart lining of the heart central nervous system and blood vessels The anti-dsDNA test may be ordered periodically to monitor progress of the disease or flare-ups in a person who has been diagnosed with lupus It may be repeated when an initial test result is negative but clinical signs and symptoms persist and lupus is strongly suspected

The results of an anti-dsDNA test are usually considered together with a person s medical history signs and symptoms and results of other autoantibody tests A high level of anti-dsDNA in the blood is strongly associated with lupus and is often significantly increased during or just prior to a flare-up When the anti-dsDNA is positive and the person tested has other clinical signs and symptoms associated with lupus it means that the person tested likely has lupus This is especially true if an anti-Sm test is also positive In the evaluation of someone with lupus nephritis a high level titer of anti-dsDNA is generally associated with ongoing inflammation and damage to the kidneys A very low level of anti-dsDNA is considered negative but does not exclude a diagnosis of lupus Only about 50-70 of those with lupus will have anti-dsDNA Low to moderate levels of the autoantibody may be seen with other autoimmune disorders such as Sj gren syndrome and mixed connective tissue disease MCTD

Anti-dsDNA tests are semi-quantitative tests and may be performed using different assays Many laboratories use an anti-dsDNA ELISA test enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay a very reliable and sensitive test Anti-dsDNA is sometimes present with diseases such as chronic hepatitis primary biliary cirrhosis and infectious mononucleosis It may also be seen in those taking drugs such as procainamide and hydralazine It is not usually tested or monitored under these conditions In addition to testing for anti-double-stranded DNA there is also an anti-single-stranded DNA test This autoantibody is less commonly tested and is not strongly associated with lupus but may be seen with other autoimmune disorders ANA consists of a group of antinuclear antibodies If an ANA test is negative it indicates that the entire group is negative Since anti-dsDNA is a member of this group it does not need to be ordered separately when an ANA test is negative

A health practitioner must rely not only test results but on clinical symptoms and the person s history for a diagnosis Symptoms may be nonspecific and often come and go Test results may not initially be positive for some of these autoantibodies due to the cyclic nature of autoimmune disorders In some cases it may take months or years to show a pattern that might suggest lupus or any of the other autoimmune diseases

There is no cure for lupus but the symptoms and complications can be managed Most people with the condition will experience flare-ups but most will also have periods of few or mild symptoms

No once the autoantibody has been produced by the body it will continue to be present However the concentration in the blood will vary over time and can be present at very low levels

Autoantibodies do not respond to lifestyle changes because they reflect the presence and severity of an autoimmune process

The test requires specialized equipment Your sample will need to be sent to a laboratory that performs these tests

Autoantibody testing is only necessary when a person shows symptoms that suggest an autoimmune disorder Most people will never need to have an anti-dsDNA test performed