CSF GFAP levels in double seronegative neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder: no evidence of astrocyte damage

Jae Won Hyun, Yeseul Kim, Ki Hoon Kim, Su Hyun Kim, Mads Nikolaj Olesen, Nasrin Asgari, Sasitorn Siritho, Friedemann Paul, Ho Jin Kim*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background: Despite rigorous confirmation with reliable assays, some individuals showing the neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) phenotype remain negative for both aquaporin-4 (AQP4) and myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) antibodies. Objective: We aimed to investigate whether double seronegative NMOSD (DN-NMOSD) and NMOSD with AQP4 antibody (AQP4–NMOSD) share the same pathophysiological basis, astrocytopathy, by measurement of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) levels as a marker of astrocyte damage. Methods: Seventeen participants who (1) satisfied the 2015 diagnostic criteria for NMOSD, and (2) tested negative for AQP4 and MOG antibodies confirmed with repeated cell-based assays, and (3) had available CSF samples obtained at the point of clinical attacks, were enrolled from 4 medical centers (South Korea, Germany, Thailand, and Denmark). Thirty age-matched participants with AQP4–NMOSD, 17 participants with MOG antibody associated disease (MOGAD), and 15 participants with other neurological disorders (OND) were included as controls. The concentration of CSF GFAP was measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results: CSF GFAP levels in the DN-NMOSD group were significantly lower than those in the AQP4–NMOSD group (median: 0.49 versus 102.9 ng/mL; p < 0.001), but similar to those in the OND (0.25 ng/mL) and MOGAD (0.39 ng/mL) control groups. The majority (90% (27/30)) of participants in the AQP4–NMOSD group showed significantly higher CSF GFAP levels than the highest level measured in the OND group, while no participant in the DN-NMOSD and MOGAD groups did. Conclusions: These results suggest that DN-NMOSD has a different underlying pathogenesis other than astrocytopathy, distinct from AQP4–NMOSD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number86
JournalJournal of Neuroinflammation
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 12. Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


  • Aquaporin-4
  • Astrocyte
  • Biomarker
  • Glial fibrillary acidic protein
  • Myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein
  • Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder
  • Aquaporin 4
  • Neuromyelitis Optica
  • Autoantibodies
  • Astrocytes
  • Humans
  • Myelin-Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein


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