The determination of virus-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is useful for the diagnosis of virus associated diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) and for the detection of a polyspecific intrathecal immune response in patients with multiple sclerosis. Quantification of virus-specific IgG in the CSF is frequently performed by calculation of a virus-specific antibody index (AI). Determination of the AI is a demanding and labour-intensive technique and therefore automation is desirable. We evaluated the precision and the diagnostic value of a fully automated enzyme immunoassay for the detection of virus-specific IgG in serum and CSF using the analyser BEP2000 (Dade Behring).
The AI for measles, rubella, varicella-zoster, and herpes simplex virus IgG was determined from pairs of serum and CSF samples of patients with viral CNS infections, multiple sclerosis and of control patients. CSF and serum samples were tested simultaneously with reference to a standard curve. Starting dilutions were 1:6 and 1:36 for CSF and 1:1386 and 1:8316 for serum samples.
The interassay coefficient of variation was below 10% for all parameters tested. There was good agreement between AIs obtained with the BEP2000 and AIs derived from the semi-automated reference method.
Determination of virus-specific IgG in serum-CSF-pairs for calculation of AI has been successfully automated on the BEP2000. Current limitations of the assay layout imposed by the analyser software should be solved in future versions to offer more convenience in comparison to manual or semi-automated methods.