Anti-nuclear antibody or ANA autoantibodies that damage the cell nucleus and are mostly present in autoimmune diseases. To understand ANA one needs to know the difference between Antibody and Autoantibodies.
Antibodies: Present in white blood cells and are proteins work against the foreign properties like toxins, viruses and bacteria
Autoantibodies: They do not prevent the body from the foreign properties but instead attacks the host cells.
What does Anti-Nuclear Antibodies do
Anti-nuclear are autoantibodies and can form a certain binding structure and then attack or destroy the nucleus of the cell. Nucleus is the cell’s innermost core containing the DNA, which is the genetic material. The damaging of the nucleus can result in the cells working against its own immune system also known as autoimmunity. Generally ANA is found in patients whose immune system is predisposed to causing inflammation and there is an abnormal production of the autoantibodies.
In most cases the autoimmune diseases have inflammation of the tissues on various parts of the body. Patients who are likely to suffer from ANA are rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, juvenile diabetes mellitus, vitiligo, Sjogren’s syndrome, scleroderma, Addison disease, pulmonary fibrosis and even in cancer.
ANA(Anti-Nuclear Antibody) Test
ANA test is also known as the FANA (Fluorescent antinuclear antibody) test, where a blood sample is take from the patient and send for testing to the lab. The serum from the patient’s blood is drawn and added on the microscope slides that has artificially prepared cells on the surface of the slides. If the patient is having ANA the serum binds to the cell of the slide.
In the Fluorescence technique the serum is tagged with a fluorescent dye and then put on the slides where there are commercially prepared cells too. The serum gets attached to the serum if they contain ANA and when the slides are viewed under the microscope the antinuclear antibodies can be seen as the fluorescent cells.
In the test if the fluorescent cells can be seen, the ANA test is called positive, whereas in case of the absence of the fluorescent cells the ANA test is said to be negative.
It is the Systemic Lupus erythematosus that scores the presence of ANA to over 95%, Progressive Systemic sclerosis has it from 60 to 90%. Rheumatoid Arthritis has about 25 to 30% of the ANA.
What after ANA Test is positive
There are various ways of treating the aliments but in many cases like rheumatoid arthritis, full cure is not possible. It can range from physiotherapy to drugs to wax pack, depending on the patient’s condition. At times removal or fusion of joints is also one of the procedures to give better stability to the patient.