The diagnostic significance of anti-dsDNA determinations was evaluated in 2 different groups of patients. When the immunofluorescence technique (IFT) with Crithidia luciliae and the Farr assay with 3H-labelled-PM2 DNA were applied to a selected panel of 536 sera from patients with various well-defined autoimmune diseases, positive results were obtained only with serum samples from patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). On the other hand when we screened 4431 sera sent to our laboratory for diagnostic reasons, we observed a high incidence of antibodies to dsDNA in patients who did not fulfil the preliminary American Rheumatism Association's criteria for SLE and did not have the diagnosis SLE. Furthermore, a significant number of the positive sera showed peculiar behaviour in that they were positive only in the IFT on Crithidia luciliae and not in the Farr assay.
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