Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: Serum antinuclear antibodies giving the 'multiple nuclear dots' or the 'rim-like/membranous' patterns are frequently detected by indirect immunofluorescence on HEp-2 cells in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis. AIM: To assess the accuracy of multiple nuclear dot and rim-like/membranous antinuclear antibodies for the diagnosis of primary biliary cirrhosis. METHODS: Sera from 4371 consecutive patients referred to our laboratory were analysed under code for antinuclear antibodies testing by indirect immunofluorescence on HEp-2 cells. RESULTS: Review of the clinical records of the 4371 patients allowed identification of 101 patients with antimitochondrial antibody-positive primary biliary cirrhosis and 22 with antimitochondrial antibody-negative variant. Multiple nuclear dot and/or rim-like/membranous patterns were found in 59 (1.3%) of the 4371 patients: 31 antimitochondrial antibody-positive primary biliary cirrhosis, 17 antimitochondrial antibody-negative primary biliary cirrhosis and 11 non-primary biliary cirrhosis. The specificity for primary biliary cirrhosis of both the antinuclear antibodies pattern was 99%. Positive predictive value and likelihood ratio for a positive test were 86% (95% CI: 72.7-94) and 221 (95% CI: 91.7-544) for multiple nuclear dot, 79% (95% CI: 62.2-90.1) and 132 (95% CI: 56.8-312.7) for rim-like/membranous, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Multiple nuclear dot and rim-like/membranous antinuclear antibodies are rare findings. Their positivity strongly suggests the diagnosis of primary biliary cirrhosis, irrespective of antimitochondrial antibody status. The high specificity for primary biliary cirrhosis makes them a useful diagnostic tool especially in antimitochondrial antibody-negative patients.

Original publication




Journal article


Aliment Pharmacol Ther

Publication Date





1575 - 1583


Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Autoantibodies, Female, Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect, Humans, Liver Cirrhosis, Biliary, Male, Middle Aged, Sensitivity and Specificity