Chonnam Med J.  2021 Jan;57(1):51-57. 10.4068/cmj.2021.57.1.51.

Stratification of Nuclear Homogeneous Patterns on HEp-2 Cells Based on Neutrophil Nuclear Staining

  • 1Departments of Clinical Pathology, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea
  • 2Departments of Medicine, School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea


Antinuclear antibody (ANA) testing is used to diagnose systemic autoimmune rheumatic disease (SARD). Nuclear homogeneous patterns on ANA-HEp-2 cells can result from anti-double-stranded DNA (dsDNA), anti-nucleosome, anti-histone, anti-Scl-70, or anti-dense fine speckles 70 (DFS70) antibodies (Abs). This study aimed to find a way to discriminate DFS70 Abs from others by way of assessing neutrophil nuclear staining on anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA) testing. Nuclear staining on ANCAneutrophils was assessed to stratify nuclear homogeneous patterns on ANA-HEp-2 cells. Enrolled subjects included (1) young individuals with a dense fine speckled pattern on ANA testing (young non-SARD group, n=71) and patients with (2) systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE group, n=35); (3) rheumatoid arthritis possibly with histone, nucleosome Abs, and others (RA group, n=51); and (4) diffuse systemic sclerosis with Scl-70 Abs (diffuse SSc group, n=19). Negative rates (95% confidence interval) of neutrophil nuclear staining were 97.2% (90.2%-99.7%) in the young non-SARD group, 2.9% (0.1%-14.9%) in the SLE group, 3.9% (0.5%-13.5%) in the RA group, and 47.4% (24.5%-71.1%) in the diffuse SSc group. The negative rate of the young non-SARD group was significantly higher than those of the other groups (all p<0.05). In conclusion, this study suggests that the assessment of nuclear staining on ANCA-neutrophils can help to stratify nuclear homogeneous patterns on ANA-HEp-2 cells and thus to determine whether the ANA pattern is attributed to DFS70 Abs, which can be found in healthy individuals, especially in young individuals.


Neutrophils; Antinuclear Antibody; Anti-Neutrophil Cytoplasmic Antibody; PSIP1 protein
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