Antibodies to U1 ribonucleoprotein (U1RNP) were first described more than 50 years ago, and although clinically relevant for antinuclear antibody–associated connective tissue disease (ANA-CTD), test results are challenging to interpret.


To evaluate the impact of anti‐U1RNP analyte diversity in the assessment of patients at risk for ANA-CTD.


Two multiplex assays for U1RNP (Sm/RNP and RNP68/A) were used to test serum specimens from consecutive patients (n = 498) under evaluation for CTD in a single academic center. Discrepant specimens were further tested for Sm/RNP antibody by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and the BioPlex multiplex assay. Data were evaluated for antibody positivity per analyte and their method of detection, correlations between analytes, and impact on clinical diagnoses through retrospective chart review.


Of the 498 patients tested, 47 (9.4%) were positive in the RNP68/A (BioPlex) and 15 (3.0%) in the Sm/RNP (Theradiag) immunoassays. U1RNP-CTD, other ANA-CTD, and no ANA-CTD were diagnosed in 34% (16 of 47), 12.8% (6 of 47), and 53.2% (25 of 47) of the cases, respectively. The prevalence of antibody by method in patients with U1RNP-CTD was 100.0% (16 of 16), 85.7% (12 of 14), 81.5% (13 of 16), and 87.5% (14 of 16) for RNP68/A, Sm/RNP BioPlex, Sm/RNP Theradiag, and Sm/RNP Inova, respectively. For other ANA-CTD and no ANA-CTD, the highest prevalence was observed with RNP68/A; all others had comparable performance.


In this study, the overall performance characteristics of Sm/RNP antibody assays were comparable; however, the RNP68/A immunoassay was very sensitive but less specific. In the absence of harmonization, reporting the type of U1RNP analyte in clinical testing may be useful in guiding interpretation and interassay correlations.

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Competing Interests

Snyder is a member of the Strategic Advisory Committee for Werfen Diagnostics. The other authors have no relevant financial interest in the products or companies described in this article.