As autoimmune processes can involve practically all organs, the presence of organ specific autoimmune disease should be considered in all cases of idiopathic inflammation or dysfunction, of any type and location. The measurement of autoantibodies often points the way ahead in the diagnosis of such diseases.
In the majority of the up to now described autoimmune entities, autoantibodies with high disease-specificity are detectable. This is true even for those diseases that are predominantly cellular (autoreactive T-lymphocytes) mediated (e.g. diabetes mellitus type 1). The number of newly described autoantibodies with proven or potential diagnostic and/or pathogenic relevance in organ specific autoimmune diseases is ever increasing. Considerable progress has also been made in the development and optimization of autoantibody detection methods.
Therefore, autoantibody measurement is increasingly in demand in the routine diagnostic laboratory. In particular, the detection and differential diagnosis of neurological diseases has profited significantly from the insights and developments in this area of recent years.