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Arthritis and Rheumatism

What is a RAJI Cell Test?



What is a RAJI Cell Test for Circulating Immune Complexes? What does a positive test mean, and is this test used frequently?


A Raji cell assay identifies the presence of circulating immune complexes. An immune complex forms when an antibody binds to an antigen (a trigger of an immune response). As is often the case in diseases, the specific antigen that triggers the disease may not be known. Additionally, the disease itself may not have been diagnosed yet. In these scenarios where the clinician is seeking a diagnosis, the clinician may find that an antigen non-specific test for immune complexes may be helpful. The Raji cell test is one of several tests that detects antigen-nonspecific immune complexes. A positive result suggests the presence of antigen-nonspecific immune complexes in the circulation.

The raji cell assay may be helpful in differentiating diseases. For instance, if the clinician is considering several diagnoses for a patient that he/she is caring for, the presence of immune complexes via a raji test may help the clinician narrow his/her focus to those diseases that result in immune complexes. Additionally, raji cell tests may assist with the assessment of disease activity. A positive raji cell assay that turns negative may suggest that the disease activity has improved. However, more specific tests are available to aid with diagnosis and disease activity than the raji cell assay. For this reason, the raji cell is not often used at our institution.

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Response by:

Raymond  Hong, MD, MBA, FACR Raymond Hong, MD, MBA, FACR
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University