Strategy for anti-aquaporin-4 auto-antibody identification and quantification using a new cell-based assay

Clin Immunol. 2011 Mar;138(3):239-46. doi: 10.1016/j.clim.2010.11.012. Epub 2010 Dec 28.


NMO-IgG is a specific biomarker of neuromyelitis optica (NMO) that targets the aquaporin-4 (AQP4) water channel protein. The current gold standard for NMO-IgG identification is indirect immunofluorescence (IIF). Our aim in this study was to develop a new quantitative cell-based assay (CBA) and to propose a rational strategy for anti-AQP4 Ab identification and quantification. We observed an excellent correlation between the CBA and IIF for NMO-IgG/anti-AQP4 detection. The CBA appeared more sensitive than IIF but on the other hand, IIF allows the simultaneous detection of various auto-Abs, underlining the complementarity between both methods. In conclusion, we propose to use IIF for the screening of patients at diagnosis in order to identify auto-Abs targeting the central nervous system. A highly sensitive, AQP4 specific and quantitative assay such as our CBA could be used thereafter to specifically identify the target of the Ab and to monitor its serum concentration under treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aquaporin 4 / immunology*
  • Autoantibodies / analysis*
  • Flow Cytometry / methods*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect / methods
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • Neuromyelitis Optica / diagnosis*
  • Neuromyelitis Optica / immunology*


  • AQP4 protein, human
  • Aquaporin 4
  • Autoantibodies
  • Immunoglobulin G