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Anti-double-stranded DNA, wha?

There are different tests that you can take to diagnose lupus and also monitor lupus activity.  This is the first in a series of the lab tests that I typically have to take with an explanation of what the results might mean.  Keep in mind that I am clearly no doctor and most of this information has been scraped from the internet.  The lab results will be from my personal bloodwork or other tests.

Anti-double-stranded DNA

The anti-double-stranded DNA antibody (anti-dsDNA) is a specific type of ANA antibody found in about 30% of people with systemic lupus. Less than 1% of healthy individuals have this antibody, making it helpful in confirming a diagnosis of systemic lupus. [The absence of anti-dsDNA, however, does not exclude a diagnosis of lupus.] The presence of anti-dsDNA antibodies often suggests more serious lupus, such as lupus nephritis (kidney lupus). When the disease is active, especially in the kidneys, high amounts of anti-DNA antibodies are usually present. However, the anti-dsDNA test cannot be used to monitor lupus activity, because anti-dsDNA can be present without any clinical activity. Three tests are currently used to detect anti-dsDNA antibodies, namely enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), the Crithidia luciliae immunofluorescence test, and a test called radioimmunoassay.

Reading results

Standard range: <30 IU/mL

Reading my results

I started seeing to my rheumatologist in April of 2011 so these are the only labs that we have to chart.  You can see that there is a pretty shocking increase over time with it peaking around late January 2012.  This period coincides with a period of a great deal of stress for me.  I began taking prednisone then and you can see the decrease back to a near “normal” state for me.

I would say that these labs are slightly off because they are missing tests from my hospital stay in June when I was in a life-threatening state.  They only show in the middle of July when I was already treated and on a heavy dose of steroids.  My guess is if I track down those June labs they would be spiking near or above the January reading.