Positive Predictive Value of Myelin Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein Autoantibody Testing

JAMA Neurol. 2021 Jun 1;78(6):741-746. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2021.0912.


Importance: Myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein-IgG1-associated disorder (MOGAD) is a distinct central nervous system-demyelinating disease. Positive results on MOG-IgG1 testing by live cell-based assays can confirm a MOGAD diagnosis, but false-positive results may occur.

Objective: To determine the positive predictive value (PPV) of MOG-IgG1 testing in a tertiary referral center.

Design, setting, and participants: This diagnostic study was conducted over 2 years, from January 1, 2018, through December 31, 2019. Patients in the Mayo Clinic who were consecutively tested for MOG-IgG1 by live cell-based flow cytometry during their diagnostic workup were included. Patients without research authorization were excluded.

Main outcomes and measures: Medical records of patients who were tested were initially reviewed by 2 investigators blinded to MOG-IgG1 serostatus, and pretest probability was classified as high or low (suggestive of MOGAD or not). Testing of MOG-IgG1 used a live-cell fluorescence-activated cell-sorting assay; an IgG binding index value of 2.5 or more with an end titer of 1:20 or more was considered positive. Cases positive for MOG-IgG1 were independently designated by 2 neurologists as true-positive or false-positive results at last follow-up, based on current international recommendations on diagnosis or identification of alternative diagnoses; consensus was reached for cases in which disagreement existed.

Results: A total of 1617 patients were tested, and 357 were excluded. Among 1260 included patients tested over 2 years, the median (range) age at testing was 46 (0-98) years, and 792 patients were female (62.9%). A total of 92 of 1260 (7.3%) were positive for MOG-IgG1. Twenty-six results (28%) were designated as false positive by the 2 raters, with an overall agreement on 91 of 92 cases (99%) for true and false positivity. Alternative diagnoses included multiple sclerosis (n = 11), infarction (n = 3), B12 deficiency (n = 2), neoplasia (n = 2), genetically confirmed adrenomyeloneuropathy (n = 1), and other conditions (n = 7). The overall PPV (number of true-positive results/total positive results) was 72% (95% CI, 62%-80%) and titer dependent (PPVs: 1:1000, 100%; 1:100, 82%; 1:20-40, 51%). The median titer was higher with true-positive results (1:100 [range, 1:20-1:10000]) than false-positive results (1:40 [range, 1:20-1:100]; P < .001). The PPV was higher for children (94% [95% CI, 72%-99%]) vs adults (67% [95% CI, 56%-77%]) and patients with high pretest probability (85% [95% CI, 76%-92%]) vs low pretest probability (12% [95% CI, 3%-34%]). The specificity of MOG-IgG1 testing was 97.8%.

Conclusions and relevance: This study confirms MOG-IgG1 as a highly specific biomarker for MOGAD, but when using a cutoff of 1:20, it has a low PPV of 72%. Caution is advised in the interpretation of low titers among patients with atypical phenotypes, because ordering MOG-IgG1 in low pretest probability situations will increase the proportion of false-positive results.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Autoantibodies / blood*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Demyelinating Diseases / blood*
  • Demyelinating Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Diagnostic Techniques and Procedures / standards
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry / methods
  • Flow Cytometry / standards
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myelin-Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein / blood*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Young Adult


  • Autoantibodies
  • Biomarkers
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • MOG protein, human
  • Myelin-Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein