The antinuclear antibody dense fine speckled pattern and possible clinical associations: An indication of a proinflammatory microenvironment.J Immunol Methods. 2021 01; 488:112904.JI
Indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) is the most prevalent screening antinuclear antibody test for systemic autoimmune rheumatic disease (SARD). Certain IIF patterns have known antibody and disease associations, but the dense fine speckled (ANA-DFS) pattern has no confirmed clinical associations. Our objective was to determine the prevalence of SARD among a group of ANA-DFS positive individuals and to identify final diagnoses among non-SARD individuals in order to determine possible clinical associations with the ANA-DFS pattern.
A retrospective study of 425 patients from a university health care system with a positive ANA-DFS pattern consecutively between August 2017 and September 2018. Sera samples underwent ANA testing by IIF on HEp-2 cell substrates (Euroimmun, Germany). Clinical information was retrieved from electronic health records and stored in a de-identified database.
The prevalence of SARD was 24%. Undetermined diagnosis (17%), skin disorders (12.1%), and fibromyalgia/chronic pain syndrome/chronic fatigue syndrome (11.8%) were the most common non-SARD diagnoses. Taking into account past medical history, the most common non-SARD were atopic disorders (21.2%), fibromyalgia/chronic pain syndrome/chronic fatigue syndrome (17.6%), and skin disorders (16.7%).
The ANA-DFS pattern may be indicative of an underlying antigen-antibody interaction that plays a role in either the initiation or propagation of immunologic reactions. DFS70/LEDGF is a transcription factor involved in cell survival and stress protection, and autoantibodies may inhibit its function. It is likely that there are other antibodies producing the ANA-DFS pattern besides anti-DFS70/LEDGF, and more research is necessary to identify additional antibody specificities. The ANA-DFS pattern may be an indicator of a proinflammatory microenvironment given the high frequency of symptomatic patients and disease processes with an immunologic basis (including SARD).