High concordance of ELISA and neutralization assays allows for the detection of antibodies to individual AAV serotypes

Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev. 2022 Jan 7:24:199-206. doi: 10.1016/j.omtm.2022.01.003. eCollection 2022 Mar 10.


Prescreening of participants in clinical trials that use adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors is required to identify naive participants, as preexisting neutralizing antibodies can limit the efficacy of AAV gene therapies. The presence of antibodies to individual AAV serotypes is typically detected by neutralization assay. To streamline the screening process, we compared an ELISA-based screening method with a neutralization assay for the detection of antibodies against AAV1, AAV8, and AAV9 in a collection of 50 rhesus macaque sera and 20 human sera. We observed a high level of concordance between the two assays (Pearson r > 0.8) for all three serotypes in both sample sets. We thus investigated pre- vs post-vector inoculation sera samples from rhesus macaques that received AAV1 or AAV8 vector inoculations for cross-reactive anti-AAV antibodies. All 12 macaques seroconverted to the vector they received, but many also reacted to the other serotypes. Our results validate an easy-to-use ELISA for reliable detection of antibodies to individual serotypes of AAV. Our results also demonstrate that an antibody response post-AAV inoculation may partially cross-react with other AAV serotypes. Overall, these results suggest that either assay can be used by academic labs for prescreening samples for preexisting anti-AAV antibodies.

Keywords: AAV; ELISA; adeno-associated virus; capsid; gene therapy; neutralization assay; serotype.