, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 59-65
Date: 13 Jul 2012

Automation in indirect immunofluorescence testing: a new step in the evolution of the autoimmunology laboratory

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Abstract

Indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) plays an important role in immunological and immunometric assays for detecting and measuring autoantibodies. This technology was the first multiplex method used to detect cardinal autoantibodies for the diagnosis of autoimmune diseases. Over the last 20 years, research has enabled the progressive identification of cell and tissue autoantigens which are the target of autoantibodies originally detected by IIF. Accordingly, newer immunometric methods, capable of measuring concentrations of specific autoantibodies directed against these autoantigens, allowed for a gradual replacement of the IIF method in the autoimmunology laboratory. Currently, IIF remains the method of choice only in selected fields of autoimmune diagnostics. Following the recent statement by the American College of Rheumatology that the IIF technique should be considered as the standard screening method for the detection of ANA, the biomedical industry has developed technological solutions which significantly improve automation of the procedure, not only in the preparation of substrates and slides, but also in microscope reading. This review summarizes the general and specific features of new available commercial systems (Aklides, Medipan; Nova View, Inova; Zenit G Sight, A. Menarini Diagnostics; Europattern, Euroimmun; Helios, Aesku.Diagnostics; Image Navigator, Immuno Concepts; Cytospot, Autoimmun Diagnostika) for automation of the IIF method. The expected advantages of automated IIF are the reduction in frequency of false negative and false positive results, the reduction of intra- and inter-laboratory variability, the improvement of correlation of staining patterns with corresponding autoantibody reactivities, and higher throughput in the laboratory workflow.