Double-stranded (ds, native) DNA (dsDNA) antibodies of the IgG class are an accepted criterion (American College of Rheumatology) for the diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). dsDNA antibodies are detectable in approximately 85% of patients with untreated SLE, and are rarely detectable in other connective tissue diseases. Weakly-positive results caused by low-avidity antibodies to dsDNA are not specific for SLE and can occur in a variety of diseases.
Testing for IgG antibodies to dsDNA is indicated in patients who have a positive test for antinuclear antibodies (ANA) along with signs and symptoms that are compatible with the diagnosis of SLE. If the ANA test is negative, there is no reason to test for antibodies to dsDNA.
The levels of IgG antibodies to dsDNA in serum are known to fluctuate with disease activity in lupus erythematosus, often increasing prior to an increase in inflammation and decreasing in response to therapy.
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