Pathology Handbook

Aquaporin Antibodies


Aquaporin-4 antibodies NMO antibodies

Clinical Indications

Neuromyelitis optica (Devic's syndrome).

(specialist request only)  Please note: Antibodies are specific for neuromyelitis optica (NMO); their detection forms part of the diagnostic criteria for this condition. This antibody is found in about 65% of patients with NMO.

Test Includes

Detection of IgG antibodies against cerebellar, midbrain and spinal cord tissue by indirect immunofluorescence.

Request Form 

Request via ICE


Assay is performed weekly.

Specific Criteria

It is essential to provide relevant clinical information.

Patient Preparation

No special preparation is required.

Turnaround Time

All samples are generally sent to  referral laboratory  within 3 working days of receipt in the laboratory. Samples are batched and the assay is performed twice per week.


Serum in red top tube

Gold top (SST) tube will be accepted


7 ml


Vacutainer red top


Samples should be transported to the laboratory as soon as is practicably possible.

Lab Handling

Aliquot and store at 4-8°C prior to testing and at -20°C or below for up to 1 month after receipt.

Causes for Rejection

Unlabelled/inadequately labelled sample.

Inadequately completed request form.

Delay in sample reaching laboratory.

Reference Range

Samples are tested for the presence of antibodies against aquaporin-4 by indirect immunofluorescence and the result reported as Positive or Negative.