Autoantibodies to the nucleus of the cell are not the only antibodies with clinical significance. Autoantibodies to components of the cytoplasm can be very important pieces in solving the diagnostic puzzle for some patients and should be reported.
When reading the ANA results always start by determining if there is a discernible pattern in the nucleus of the cells; if not, then the result is ANA negative.
Then examine the cytoplasm to see if there is a discernible pattern present there. If so, then the report should contain a comment on the cytoplasmic pattern present.
The following are the more common cytoplasmic patterns.