Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen (PCNA) (AC-13)

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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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Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen (PCNA) (AC-13)

This is an example of a cell cycle dependent speckled ANA pattern called proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA).
With this pattern the antigen that the antibodies are directed to is only expressed during a limited portion of the cell's growth cycle. During other parts of the growth cycle, the antigen is not expressed. This creates a pattern where only 30-50% of the cells stain positive. The speckled staining within these positive cells varies between coarse speckled (a) and smooth speckled (b). Cells not expressing the antigen are negative (c).
Follow-up testing to confirm antibodies to PCNA is recommended. Anti-PCNA antibodies are specific for SLE.
This pattern is reported as ANA positive, Speckled, possible PCNA; titering is necessary.
Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen (PCNA)
Cell cycle dependent pattern
Antigen not expressed in all growth stages.
Interphase cells:
  • 30-50% of interphase cells stain
  • Coarse to fine speckling in the nucleus
  • Nucleoli do not stain
    Metaphase mitotic cells
No staining at this stage of the cell cycle.