The Laboratory in Autoimmune Diseases


A) Knowledge: to revisit core concepts in the field of autoimmune diseases


1.       Definition, classification, clinical diagnosis.

2.       To understand the susceptibility factors of autoimmune diseases and the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the humoral and cellular processes.

3.       To understand the general principles of laboratory diagnosis in autoimmune diseases.

4.       To know the most frequently used techniques in the diagnosis of these diseases.

5.       To understand how the laboratory may support the monitoring of therapeutic strategies.


B ) Skills and performance


1.       To be able to choose the most specific and sensitive diagnostic methods for the identification of autoimmune diseases.

2.       To be able to perform some specific techniques in the field of autoimmune diseases.

3.       To be able to identify patterns by immunofluorescence.

4.       To get in contact with bio-pathologic validation procedures and tracking algorithms, framed by the clinical context.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Prof.ª Doutora Maria José Rego de Sousa


Weekly - Available soon

Total - Available soon

Teaching language






For consultation:


  • “Atlas of HEp-2 patterns, 3rd Edition” – A.R. Bradwell, R.G. Hughes; ISBN 0704425955
  • “Atlas of Tissue Autoantibodies, 3rd Edition” - R.G. Hughes, M.J. Surmacz, A.R. Karim, A.R. Bradwell; ISBN 07044270IX
  • “Autoimmune Diagnostics”- Harald Renz; 2012 De Gruyter; ISBN 9-783110-228649
  • “The Autoimmune diseases, 4th Edition” - Noel R. Rose, Ian R. Mackay; ISBN 978-0-12-595961-2
  • “Autoantibodies 3rd Edition” – Y. Shoenfeld, P.L. Meroni, E. Gershwin; 2014 ELSEVIER, ISBN 978-0-444-56378-1
  • “Diagnostic Criteria in Autoimmune diseases” - Y. Shoenfeld, R. Cervera, E. Gershwin; ISBN 978-1-60327-427-2
  • Autoantigens and Autoantibodies: Diagnostic tools and Clues to understanding Autoimmunity” – K. Conrad, R.L. Humbel, M. Meurer, Y. Shoenfeld, E.M.Tan; 2000 PABST, ISBN 3-935357-08-7

Teaching method

This course is intended for 4th and 5th year, accepts a maximum of 10 students, and has a total load of 84 hours, divided into 28 contact hours and 55 hours of individual study. The 28 contact hours include 3 hours of lectures, 13 hours of theoretical-practical classes and 12 hours of practical classes. The UC is taken on a weekly basis (3-hour sessions).

The lectures are expository classes, lasting 50 minutes each. The theoretical-practical classes include an introductory session followed by a general discussion, focused on appraisal of relevant clinical cases.

The practical classes take place in the laboratory facilities and are fully integrated in the routine work, with close supervision (ratio teacher/student 1:2).

Evaluation method

The assessment of this UC consists in the elaboration and public discussion of work on a theme assigned by the Coordinator, based on cases arising in routine laboratory work.

Subject matter

To achieve the proposed objectives and develop the targeted skills, the contents of this unit includes 3 main areas:

1.       Essential knowledge of autoimmunity, which include topics such as:

Definition of autoimmunity and autoimmune disease.

       Classification of autoimmune diseases.

       Susceptibility factors in autoimmune diseases and their pathophysiology.


2.       Diagnostic laboratory procedures in autoimmunity, such as:

       Autoantibodies in the diagnosis and prognosis of autoimmune diseases.

       Immunofluorescence patterns.

       Use of diagnostic algorithms.


3.       Discussion of real clinical cases


Programs where the course is taught: