The extractable nuclear antigens test or the ENA test is prescribed as a follow-up test when the antinuclear antibody tests yield a positive report. The test is also known as Antibodies to Saline-extracted Antigens, Anti-RNP, and ENA Panel. This test is used to distinguish between the autoimmune disorder that the patient is suffering from. It is also used as a monitoring test for checking the progression of the autoimmune disorder.
The extractable nuclear antigens test is a panel test that checks for antigens that account for specific autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune disorders are often genetic, and, unless detected early, can be life-threatening. When a person suffers from an autoimmune disorder, their own immune system becomes their enemy and attacks healthy cells.
The immune system functions as a defender against harmful pathogens. When a bacteria or a virus enters the body, the immune system acts to counter the invasion by releasing killer cells. When a person suffers from an autoimmune disorder, the genetic make-up is such that the immune system targets the body’s normal cells, thinking they are foreign pathogens.
The test is prescribed when the following symptoms are seen:
The extractable nuclear antigens test or the ENA test looks for the presence of antigens in the blood. Antigens and antibodies are specific to each other. The extractable nuclear antigens are easily removed from the cell and that helps determine the exact nature of the condition.
Once a person’s ANA test comes back as positive, the ENA test is prescribed to further distinguish the kind of autoantibodies that are present in the blood to start treatment. This test is done to determine the following conditions:
This test is never ordered for people who do not show signs of having any autoimmune disorders. The following autoantibodies are checked for:
The extractable nuclear antigens test is done by testing the blood of the patient. An experienced phlebotomist collects the blood and ensures the process is painless and as quick as possible.
While the collection of blood itself poses no threats, when a person is suffering from an autoimmune disorder, one of the symptoms will be anemia. This means that the person can feel dizzy and even faint when the blood is collected.
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Connective tissue disease affects the joints of the body. When a person has mixed connective tissue disorder, it means that he/she has more than one autoimmune disorder. It is a rare condition.
Autoimmune disorders cannot be completely cured. But, they can be controlled, and patients can live a normal life with continuous treatment.
Doctors identify the specific disorder and then provide the patient with medications and also therapies to help overcome the fear of the disease.
The ENA test is not the only determining factor for determining a prognosis. While the test is prescribed only after the positive result of the ANA test, there can be instances where the results show no antibodies but the patient’s symptoms state otherwise. Hence, both the symptoms and the results are considered to start the treatment.
The result will show which antibodies are present in the blood. Based on the detection, treatment is started.
|Anti-RNP||mixed connective tissue disease or lupus or scleroderma|
|Anti-SS-A (Ro)||Sjögren syndrome, may be seen for lupus and scleroderma|
|Anti-SS-B (La) and is not very common to be alone without Anti-SS-A (Ro)||Sjögren syndrome, may be seen for lupus and scleroderma|
|Anti-Jo-1||Polymyositis and also for pulmonary fibrosis|
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