The lymphocyte assay is used to diagnose systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The test tends to be replaced by other newer diagnoses of SLE, such as antinuclear antibodies.
Lupus or LE (Lupus Erythematosus) cells are neutrophils or macrophages that have phagocytized the denatured nuclear material of another cell. LE cells are characteristic of lupus erythematosus (positive in 50-75% of patients) but can also be found in similar connective tissue disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune hepatitis, scleroderma, dermatomyositis, nodular polyarthritis, acquired hemolytic anemia and Hodgkin's disease. The presence of LE cells may also be positive in subjects receiving phenylbutazone and hydralazine.
The negative result of lymphocyte screening precludes the diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus, while the presence of the cells is indicative of the disease.
A peripheral blood smear is considered positive when 10 or more characteristic lupus cells are observed during a 15-minute search or otherwise, when approximately 2% to 30% of the neutrophilic cells observed in the smear are lymph cells.
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. Correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.