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Glial fibrillary acidic protein IgG related myelitis: characterisation and comparison with aquaporin-4-IgG myelitis
  1. Elia Sechi1,
  2. P Pearse Morris2,
  3. Andrew McKeon1,3,
  4. Sean J Pittock1,3,
  5. Shannon R Hinson3,
  6. Brian G Weinshenker1,
  7. Allen J Aksamit1,
  8. Karl N Krecke2,
  9. Timothy J Kaufmann2,
  10. Evan A Jolliffe1,
  11. Nicholas L Zalewski1,
  12. Anastasia Zekeridou1,
  13. Dean M Wingerchuk4,
  14. Jiraporn Jitprapaikulsan1,3,
  15. Eoin P Flanagan1,3
  1. 1 Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  2. 2 Department of Radiology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  3. 3 Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  4. 4 Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, Arizona, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Eoin P Flanagan, Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA; flanagan.eoin{at}

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IgG directed against the α-isoform of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP-IgG) predicts a distinct corticosteroid-responsive meningoencephalomyelitis termed autoimmune GFAP astrocytopathy, when detected on cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).1 Optic disc oedema and tremor are common accompaniments. The MRI hallmark is a striking linear perivascular enhancement radially oriented around the ventricles (radial enhancement), while the myelitis component is generally associated with a longitudinally extensive T2 lesion on spinal cord MRI, similar to that typically encountered in aquaporin-4-IgG (AQP4-IgG) related myelitis.1–3 We compared the clinical, laboratory and MRI features of GFAP-IgG and AQP4-IgG related myelitis.

Materials and methods

Patient ascertainment

We retrospectively identified GFAP-IgG seropositive patients seen at the Mayo Clinic ( 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2017). Inclusion criteria were as follows: (1) serum/CSF demonstrating GFAP pattern by indirect immunofluorescence with GFAPα specificity confirmed by cell-based assay, as previously described;1 (2) first myelitis episode; (3) serum sample negative for myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein-IgG (MOG-IgG) and AQP4-IgG using previously described methodology4 5; (4) adequate clinical data available. Nine patients with GFAP-IgG myelitis were included in a prior report.1 Two patients with dual positivity in serum for AQP4-IgG and GFAP-IgG were excluded. Medical records were reviewed and compared with 41 patients from a previously identified cohort of AQP4-IgG seropositive patients at the first episode of clinical myelitis who tested negative for GFAP-IgG (41 tested) and MOG-IgG (13 tested).5 Improvement was defined as subjective improvement reported by the patient with objective improvement confirmed by the physician.


All available MRI sequences obtained within 4 months of myelitis onset were reviewed by one neurology investigator (ES/EPF) and one neuroradiologist (TJK/KNK/PPM) as described previously.5 Consensus was achieved in situations of disagreement.

Statistical analysis

Wilcoxon rank-sum test or χ2/Fisher’s exact test was used as appropriate for comparison (JMP 8.0 software).


Fifty-four patients with myelitis were included: GFAP-IgG positive, …

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