What is the HLA-B27 Test:
The human leukocyte antigen B27 blood test is also known as the HLA-B27 test.
The HLA-B27 test is used to identify a specific protein on your white blood cells that can be a sign of autoimmune disease.
This test is one step in the process of diagnosing a potential autoimmune disorder.
Human leukocyte antigen B27 (HLA-B27) is a protein located on the surface of your white blood cells. An HLA-B27 test is a blood test that identifies HLA-B27 proteins.
Human leukocyte antigens (HLAs) are proteins commonly found on white blood cells. These antigens help your immune system identify the differences between healthy body tissue and foreign substances that may cause infection.
Although most HLAs protect your body from harm, HLA-B27 is a specific type of protein that contributes to immune system dysfunction. The presence of HLA-B27 on your white blood cells can cause your immune system to attack those other healthy cells. When this occurs, it can result in an autoimmune disease or immune-mediated disease, such as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis.
How is the HLA-B27 Test Used?
Use of the HLA-B27 Test Result for monitoring of diseases:
The presence of HLA-B27 is associated with certain autoimmune and immune-mediated diseases, including:
ankylosing spondylitis, which causes inflammation of the bones in your spine
reactive arthritis, which causes inflammation of your joints, urethra, and eyes, and sometimes lesions on your skin
juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
anterior uveitis, which causes swelling and irritation in the middle layer of your eye
A doctor may order the HLA-B27 test to monitor the progress of these and other autoimmune diseases.
Diagnostic Uses of the HLA-B27 Test:
For people with specific symptoms, the HLA-B27 test may be used along with other blood, urine, or imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis of an autoimmune disease. The symptoms that may prompt a doctor to order the test include:
stiffness or swelling of your spine, neck, or chest
inflammation of your joints or urethra accompanied by skin lesions
recurring infection in your eye
Your doctor can order HLA antigen tests, including tests for HLA-B27, when you're going to a kidney or bone marrow transplant. These tests can be used to ensure a suitable match between you and a donor.
How is the HLA-B27 Test Result Interpreted?
A negative test indicates the absence of HLA-B27 in your blood.
However, if the test is negative, it does not mean that you do not have an autoimmune disorder. When making a final diagnosis, your doctor will consider all test results along with your symptoms. Sometimes people with autoimmune disorders do not have HLA-B27 on their white blood cells.
If the test is positive, this means that HLA-B27 is present in your blood. Although a positive result may be cause for concern, the presence of the antigen does not always mean that an autoimmune disorder will develop. Diagnosis of an autoimmune disorder must be made based on your symptoms and the results of all blood tests and diagnostic exams.
By Dr. Mehul Dave