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September 1971

Atypical FTA-ABS Test ReactionAn Initial Clue in the Diagnosis of Lupus Erythematosus

Author Affiliations

Atlanta; Raleigh, NC

From the Venereal Disease Research Laboratory, Center for Disease Control, Atlanta (Dr. Kraus), and the North Carolina State Board of Health, Raleigh (Mrs. Daniels).

Arch Dermatol. 1971;104(3):260-261. doi:10.1001/archderm.1971.04000210034006

An atypical, "beaded" pattern of fluorescence of the Treponema pallidum antigen has been reported to occur when sera from certain patients with lupus erythematosus (LE) are tested in the fluorescent treponemal antibody-absorption (FTA-ABS) test. In the present case, follow-up of a reactive Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (VDRL) slide test led to detection of a beaded fluorescence pattern in the FTA-ABS test. Awareness and reporting of this atypical fluorescence provided the initial clue that led to the diagnosis of LE.