Myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein and aquaporin-4 antibodies are highly specific in children with acquired demyelinating syndromes

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2018 Sep;60(9):958-962. doi: 10.1111/dmcn.13703. Epub 2018 Feb 22.


Aim: Our objectives were to evaluate the utility of measuring myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) and aquaporin-4 (AQP4) antibodies (Ab) in clinical practice and describe their associated neurological phenotypes in children.

Method: Between 2012 and 2017, 371 children with suspected acquired demyelinating syndromes (ADS) seen in three tertiary centres were tested for MOG-Ab and AQP4-Ab. Medical notes were retrospectively reviewed, and clinical and demographic data compiled. Clinical phenotyping was performed blinded to the antibody results.

Results: After review, 237 of the 371 were diagnosed with ADS. Of these, 76 out of 237 (32.1%) were MOG-Ab positive and 14 out of 237 (5.9%) were AQP4-Ab positive. None were positive for both autoantibodies. All 134 patients with non-ADS were negative for MOG-Ab. MOG-Ab were identified in 45 out of 70 (64.3%) patients presenting with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) and in 24 out of 25 patients with relapsing ADEM. Thirty-six out of 75 (48%) MOG-Ab positive patients relapsed. Of the 33 children with neuromyelitis optic spectrum disorder, 14 were AQP4-Ab positive, 13 were MOG-Ab positive, and 6 were seronegative. Of the children with longitudinal samples, 8 out of 13 AQP4-Ab remained positive during the disease course compared to 35 out of 43 MOG-Ab (13/16 monophasic and 22/27 relapsing).

Interpretation: Myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibodies were identified in a third of children with ADS. Almost half of the MOG-Ab positive children relapsed and the majority of them remained antibody positive over 4-years follow-up.

What this paper adds: Myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibodies (MOG-Ab) are highly specific for acquired demyelinating syndromes (ADS). Myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibodies are not identified in children with peripheral demyelination or genetic leukodystrophies/hypomyelination. Up to 48% of MOG-Ab ADS paediatric patients relapse, higher than previously thought. Seroconversion to MOG-Ab negative status is infrequent; patients may test MOG-Ab positive at follow-up sampling even when asymptomatic. Myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibodies status should only be used in conjunction with the clinical information to guide maintenance therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antibodies / blood*
  • Aquaporin 4 / immunology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Demyelinating Diseases / blood*
  • Demyelinating Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Myelin-Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein / immunology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Syndrome


  • Antibodies
  • Aquaporin 4
  • Myelin-Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein