Background: JC virus (JCV) infection is a prerequisite for development of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). The development and validation of a two-step enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) that detects JCV antibodies in human serum or plasma and its clinical utility for stratification of PML risk have been described.
Objective: To develop a second-generation JCV antibody ELISA kit with improved assay performance characteristics.
Study design: The assay design was optimized by pre-coating the JC virus-like particles (VLP) on microtiter plates. Assay cut-points were statistically established using sera from >1300 multiple sclerosis patients from natalizumab clinical studies. The assay was analytically validated and then used to determine the presence of JCV antibodies in both treatment-naïve and natalizumab-treated MS patients, as well as in natalizumab-treated PML patients.
Results: An improved assay for detection of JCV antibodies in human serum and plasma was developed. Key enhancements included improved delineation and reproducibility of low JCV antibody responses and assay ease of use. The assay was validated, demonstrating good agreement with the original two-step JCV antibody ELISA, and similar seroprevalence of 50%-60%. Samples from 63 natalizumab-treated PML patients collected 6-180 months prior to PML diagnosis tested JCV antibody positive. One patient tested JCV antibody negative 15 months prior to PML diagnosis but JCV antibody positive 2 months prior to PML diagnosis.
Conclusions: The validated second-generation JCV antibody ELISA offers improved assay design as a kit and enhanced performance characteristics that advance routine clinical use of the assay as a PML risk stratification tool.
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