Authors: Rachel Xuan, Medical Student, University of New South Wales; Dr Anes Yang, MA, BMed, MPH, Dermatology Clinical Research Fellow, Premier Specialists, NSW, Australia; Professor Dedee F. Murrell, Head, Department of Dermatology, St George Hospital, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. DermNet New Zealand Editor in Chief: A/Prof Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand. December 2017.
Indirect immunofluorescence, or secondary immunofluorescence, is a technique used in laboratories to detect circulating autoantibodies in patient serum. It is used to diagnose autoimmune blistering diseases.
The tissue substrates used (monkey oesophagus or human skin) will depend on the suspected disease. Different staining patterns will help diagnose an autoimmune bullous disease.
Indirect immunofluorescence is used to diagnose autoimmune bullous diseases.
The immunofluorescent slides are examined to determine the presence of autoantibodies via the patterns of immune deposition. The results are subjective and indirect immunofluorescence cannot be used reliably to monitor disease severity and/or its treatment.
Occasionally the test can produce false results.
Mucous membrane pemphigoid
Epidermolysis bullosa acquisita
Linear IgA bullous dermatosis and chronic bullous disease of childhood
Bullous lupus erythematosus
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