Also Known As
ADN-B
ADB
ADNase-B
Formal Name
Antideoxyribonuclease-B Titer
This article was last reviewed on
This article waslast modified on
May 28, 2018.
At a Glance
Why Get Tested?

To help determine whether you have had a prior strep infection with the bacteria group A Streptococcus; to help diagnose complications resulting from a recent strep infection, such as rheumatic fever and glomerulonephritis, a form of kidney disease

When To Get Tested?

When you have symptoms such as fever, chest pain, fatigue and shortness of breath that suggest rheumatic fever, or symptoms such as edema and dark urine that are associated with glomerulonephritis, especially when you recently may have had a group A streptococcal infection that was not diagnosed and treated appropriately; may be done along with or following an ASO test

Sample Required?

A blood sample drawn from a vein in your arm

Test Preparation Needed?

None

You may be able to find your test results on your laboratory's website or patient portal. However, you are currently at Lab Tests Online. You may have been directed here by your lab's website in order to provide you with background information about the test(s) you had performed. You will need to return to your lab's website or portal, or contact your healthcare practitioner in order to obtain your test results.

Lab Tests Online is an award-winning patient education website offering information on laboratory tests. The content on the site, which has been reviewed by laboratory scientists and other medical professionals, provides general explanations of what results might mean for each test listed on the site, such as what a high or low value might suggest to your healthcare practitioner about your health or medical condition.

The reference ranges for your tests can be found on your laboratory report. They are typically found to the right of your results.

If you do not have your lab report, consult your healthcare provider or the laboratory that performed the test(s) to obtain the reference range.

Laboratory test results are not meaningful by themselves. Their meaning comes from comparison to reference ranges. Reference ranges are the values expected for a healthy person. They are sometimes called "normal" values. By comparing your test results with reference values, you and your healthcare provider can see if any of your test results fall outside the range of expected values. Values that are outside expected ranges can provide clues to help identify possible conditions or diseases.

While accuracy of laboratory testing has significantly evolved over the past few decades, some lab-to-lab variability can occur due to differences in testing equipment, chemical reagents, and techniques. This is a reason why so few reference ranges are provided on this site. It is important to know that you must use the range supplied by the laboratory that performed your test to evaluate whether your results are "within normal limits."

For more information, please read the article Reference Ranges and What They Mean.

What is being tested?

Antideoxyribonuclease-B antibody (anti-DNase B) is one of the most common of several antibodies that are produced by the body's immune system in response to a strep infection with group A Streptococcus. This test measures the amount of antibody to one of the streptococcal antigens (anti-DNase B) in the blood. It may be done with or following an antistreptolysin O (ASO) test, another test to detect antibody to a streptococcal antigen.

Group A Streptococcus (Streptococcus pyogenes), is the bacterium responsible for causing strep throat and a variety of other infections, including skin infections (pyoderma, impetigo, cellulitis). In most cases, strep infections are identified and treated with antibiotics, and the infections resolve.

When a strep infection does not cause identifiable symptoms, goes untreated, or is treated ineffectively, however, complications (sequelae), namely rheumatic fever and glomerulonephritis, can sometimes develop, especially in young children. These secondary conditions have become much less prevalent in the U.S. because of routine strep testing, but they still do occur. These conditions can cause serious complications, such as damage to the heart, acute kidney dysfunction, tissue swelling (edema), and high blood pressure (hypertension). Anti-DNase B and ASO tests can be used to help determine if these are due to a recent group A strep infection.

How is the sample collected for testing?

A blood sample is obtained by inserting a needle into a vein in the arm.

Is any test preparation needed to ensure the quality of the sample?

No test preparation is needed.

Accordion Title
Common Questions
  • How is it used?

    The anti-DNase B test may be used to help determine whether a recent strep infection with group A Streptococcus:

    The test may be ordered with an ASO, another test used to detect prior strep infections.

    In most cases, throat and skin strep infections are identified and treated with antibiotics and the infections resolve. In cases where the infections do not cause identifiable symptoms and/or go undiagnosed and untreated, however, complications (sequelae), namely rheumatic fever and glomerulonephritis, can develop in some people, especially young children.

    If not diagnosed and treated appropriately, group A streptococcal throat infections (strep throat) can lead to either rheumatic fever or glomerulonephritis, while strep skin infections can lead to glomerulonephritis. The ASO test is ordered if a person presents with symptoms suggesting rheumatic fever or glomerulonephritis and has had a recent history of sore throat, characteristic skin infection, or a confirmed streptococcal infection.

    The anti-DNase B test may be ordered by itself, or along with another streptococcal antibody test such as an antihyaluronidase, if the ASO test is negative. A small percentage (10-15%) of those with a post-streptococcal complication will not have an elevated ASO but may have an elevated anti-DNase B or antihyaluronidase titer. This is especially true with glomerulonephritis linked to a previous skin strep infection.

    Since the incidence of post-streptococcal complications has dropped in the U.S., so has the use of the ASO test and anti-DNase B test.

  • When is it ordered?

    The anti-DNase and ASO test are ordered when a person has symptoms that a health practitioner suspects may be due to an illness caused by a previous strep infection. They are ordered when the symptoms appear, usually in the weeks following a sore throat or skin infection when the bacteria are no longer present in the throat or on the skin.

    An anti-DNase B and another streptococcal antibody test, such as an antihyaluronidase test, may be ordered when an ASO test is negative to seek confirmation of a previous strep infection.

    Some symptoms of rheumatic fever may include:

    • Fever
    • Joint swelling and pain in more than one joint, especially in the ankles, knees, elbows and wrists, sometimes moving from one joint to another
    • Small, painless nodules under the skin
    • Rapid, jerky movements (Sydenham's chorea)
    • Skin rash
    • Sometimes the heart can become inflamed (carditis); this may not produce any symptoms but also may lead to shortness of breath, heart palpitations, or chest pain

    Some symptoms of glomerulonephritis may include:

    • Fatigue, decreased energy
    • Decreased urine output
    • Bloody urine
    • Rash
    • Joint pain
    • Swelling (edema)
    • High blood pressure

    However, these symptoms can be seen in other conditions.

    Anti-DNase B testing may be performed twice, with samples collected about two weeks apart, for acute and convalescent titers. This is done to determine if the antibody level is rising, falling, or remaining the same.

  • What does the test result mean?

    Anti-DNase B and ASO antibodies are produced about a week to a month after an initial strep infection. The amount of anti-DNase B antibody (titer) peaks about 4 to 6 weeks after the illness and may remain elevated for several months. They typically remain elevated longer than ASO antibody titers.

    Negative anti-DNase B and ASO tests or these antibodies present at very low titers means that the person tested most likely has not had a recent strep infection. This is especially true if a sample taken 10 to 14 days later is also negative.

    An elevated antibody titer of anti-DNase or ASO, or rising titer of these antibodies, means that it is likely that the person tested has had a recent strep infection. A small percentage (10-15%) of those who have a complication related to a recent strep infection will not have an elevated ASO titer. This is especially true with glomerulonephritis that develops after a skin strep infection. These people may, however, have an elevated anti-DNase B titer and/or an elevation in another streptococcal antibody such as an elevated antihyaluronidase titer.

    The anti-DNase B and ASO tests do not predict if complications will occur following a streptococcal infection, nor do they predict the type or severity of the disease. If symptoms of rheumatic fever or glomerulonephritis are present, an elevated anti-DNase B and/or ASO titer may be used to help confirm the diagnosis.

  • Is there anything else I should know?

    If a person has an elevated and/or rising ASO titer, it is not necessary to test for anti-DNase B. However, if the ASO level is negative, then the anti-DNase B can be valuable for identifying previous strep infections in those people who either do not produce ASO or only produce minimal amounts of it.

  • Can an anti-DNase B or an ASO be used to diagnose strep throat?

    No, because Anti-DNase B and ASO are not detectable when a person first becomes infected. A throat culture or a rapid strep test is the best method to diagnose streptococcal pharyngitis. It is important that strep throat be promptly identified and treated to avoid complications and to avoid passing the infection on to others.

  • Can I develop rheumatic fever or glomerulonephritis at the same time as my strep throat?

    These complications develop after the initial strep infection resolves. There is a delay when signs and symptoms of these sequelae appear after the streptococcal infection, about 1-2 weeks for glomerulonephritis and about 2-3 weeks for rheumatic fever.

  • If I am diagnosed with strep, will an anti-DNase B or ASO always be performed?

    No. In general, these tests are only performed when someone has symptoms suggesting that a complication may have developed after a group A strep infection that was not diagnosed and treated appropriately. Most people do not experience these complications, so these tests are not routinely done.

  • Can the anti-DNase B test be performed in my doctor's office?

    Most doctors' offices will not perform this test, and some laboratories may not offer it. Your blood will typically be sent to a reference laboratory for testing.

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