Cell Morphology (HEp-2 or HEp-2000 Cell)

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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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Cell Morphology (HEp-2 or HEp-2000 Cell)

This slide is an illustration of a HEp-2 or HEp-2000® cell with several nuclear and cytoplasmic structures indicated. Antibodies to DNA, histones, centromere, nuclear RNP (ribonuclear protein), cytoplasmic RNP, mitochondria, ribosomes, lysosomes, Golgi apparatus (as well as a variety of cytoskeletal proteins such as microfilaments, intermediate filaments, and microtubules) can be detected using the HEp-2 or HEp-2000® cell lines. It is important to note that RNA constitutes the bulk of the nucleic acid in the cells, 5-10 times more abundant than DNA.
Generally, we consider two compartments in the cell when detecting autoantibodies in systemic rheumatic disease: (1) nucleus and (2) cytoplasm. Staining of the nucleus includes staining inside the nucleoli.