Antinuclear factor (ANF) test—its diagnostic value

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THE antinuclear factor (ANF) test has gained considerable popularity in recent years as an aid to diagnosis of various diseases that may have an underlying basis of autoimmunity. However, when faced with the diagnosis of such diseases, most clinical laboratories still depend almost exclusively on the well-known lupus erythematosus (L.E.) cell test.

It is generally agreed that the L.E. cell test and the ANF test both detect the same factors1 or antibodies, and the difference lies only in the experimental design to detect such antibodies. The ANF test is based on an immunofluorescent technic, and as such is much more sensitive than the L.E. cell test, so that it may be positive in a much wider variety of disease processes thought to be of possible autoimmune origin. Because of this latter property of the ANF test, it has been considered by some investigators2 as one of the rather valuable screening tests in the diagnosis of autoimmune diseases.

The ANF test was introduced in the Cleveland Clinic laboratories about three years ago, and the main purpose of this study was to analyze and to correlate clinically the first 500 consecutive ANF tests performed during the year 1967. Since in a majority of the cases the L.E. cell tests were performed also, a further comparison between the results of these two tests and the patient’s clinical disease was possible.

Materials and methods

Various technics employing nuclear material of different tissues have been reported for performing the ANF test. These procedures include tumor . . .



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