The dsDNA antigen is a 2690 bp plasmid purified by alkaline lysis and chromatography. The purification process includes operations to minimize reactivity to antibodies against single-stranded DNA. The use of plasmid DNA in ELISA is an effective method for the detection of anti-double-stranded (ds) DNA antibodies (1). The presence of antibodies to dsDNA is included in the 1982 revised criteria for the classification of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) (2). Approximately 60-70% of SLE patients have antibodies to dsDNA, and there is considerable evidence to implicate immune complexes containing anti-dsDNA and DNA in the pathogenesis of SLE (3,4). In addition, levels of anti-dsDNA antibodies have been demonstrated to correlate with disease activity in many patients (5,6). Low levels of anti-dsDNA antibodies may occur in other rheumatic diseases (7) and may occur at a very low frequency (<2%) in individuals without any symptoms of rheumatic disease (8). Anti-dsDNA antibodies may appear in rheumatic patients prior to the development of disease manifestations (9).
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