The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Autoimmune Diseases and Antinuclear Antibody Testing: Methods and Staining Patterns. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Autoimmune Disease Overview (continued)

One aspect of these diseases is the formation of antibodies that are directed to self-antigens (autoantibodies). Thus, autoimmune diseases can be divided into two general groups:
  • Organ specific autoimmune disease: The autoantibodies attack a specific organ.
    • Example: Hashimoto thyroiditis where autoantibodies damage the thyroid gland.
  • Non-organ specific/systemic autoimmune disease: The autoantibodies attack multiple organ systems.
    • Example: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) where the autoantibodies may attack any organ in the body.