EFNS task force report: a questionnaire-based survey on the service provision and quality assurance for determination of diagnostic autoantibody tests in European neuroimmunology centres. European Federation of Neurological Societies.
Willison HJ., Ang W., Gilhus NE., Graus F., Liblau R., Vedeler C., Vincent A.
Autoantibodies to a wide variety of neural components are frequently sought in the sera of patients with neurological diseases suspected to have an antibody-associated autoimmune basis. Variations in assay methodology and availability are likely to exist throughout European diagnostic immunology centres, and interlaboratory discrepancies in performance for some assays have been reported. The availability of quality assurance is largely unknown. In this questionnaire-based EFNS task force, all 18 national representatives of the Neuroimmunology Panel within the EFNS were invited to estimate the service provision within their country; 12 panel members responded. From these responses, it emerged that a range of assays are being performed throughout European centres, involving over 20 separate antigens, using a broad array of immunodetection techniques. With the exception of the estimation of anti-AChR antibodies for the diagnosis of myasthenia gravis, no systematic quality assurance schemes are available, this being conducted on an ad hoc basis, or not at all. Since quality is a central component of assay sensitivity and specificity, we conclude that there is an urgent need to introduce pan-European quality assurance schemes, based on provision of positive and negative test sera from a central source, and in which all neuroimmunology laboratories should participate.