CSF levels of glutamine synthetase and GFAP to explore astrocytic damage in seronegative NMOSD.

To explore levels of astrocytopathy in neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) by measuring levels of the astrocytic enzyme glutamine synthetase (GS) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), an established astrocytic biomarker known to be associated with disease activity in multiple sclerosis.Cerebrospinal fluid concentrations of GS and GFAP were measured by ELISA in patients with NMOSD (n=39, 28 aquaporin-4 (AQP4)-Ab-seropositive, 3 double-Ab-seronegative, 4 myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)-Ab-seropositive and 4 AQP4-Ab-seronegative with unknown MOG-Ab-serostatus), multiple sclerosis (MS) (n=69), optic neuritis (n=5) and non-neurological controls (n=37).GFAP and GS concentrations differed significantly across groups (both p<0.001), showing a similar pattern of elevation in patients with AQP4-Ab-seropositive NMOSD. GS and GFAP were significantly correlated, particularly in patients with AQP4-Ab-seropositive NMOSD (rs=0.70, p<0.001). Interestingly, GFAP levels in some patients with double-Ab-seronegative NMOSD were markedly increased.Our data indicate astrocytic injury occurs in some patients with double-Ab-seronegative NMOSD, which hints at the possible existence of yet undiscovered astrocytic autoimmune targets. We hypothesise that elevated GS and GFAP levels could identify those double-Ab-seronegative patients suitable to undergo in-depth autoimmune screening for astrocytic antibodies.

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