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Effects of rheumatoid factor, antinuclear antibodies and plasma reagin on the serologic assay for Lyme disease.

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Rheumatoid factor (RF), antinuclear antibodies (ANA) and the presence of other spirochetal infections have been reported to be the source of false positive serologic tests of
Lyme disease. To evaluate this, we studied their effect upon the
Lyme assay in use in our clinical laboratory. Of 64 rapid plasma reagin (RPR) test positive sera, 2 had positive
Lyme antibody tests, not statistically different than controls. Of 43 RF positive sera, 2 had positive
lyme tests, no different than controls, and 1 of 53 ANA containing sera had positive
Lyme tests, again, not different from controls. There was no relationship of titer of RPR or ANA with
Lyme results, nor of ANA pattern. Sera containing high titer RF, however, had slight interference, producing an increase in equivocal
Lyme assay results. From the other point of view, sera that were
Lyme test positive had no increased frequency of RPR or RF, but had an increased frequency of ANA. Therefore, neither RPR, RF or ANA were found to markedly interfere with the
Lyme assay. However,
Lyme antibodies may interfere with the ANA test.

J Rheumatol. 1991 Dec;18(12):1813-8.

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