Pediatric CNS Disorder Evaluations [Test in Focus]

Autoimmune encephalitis and myelitis is increasingly recognized as a cause of CNS disease in children and teens. NMDA-R encephalitis and MOG autoimmunity are most common, though other entities, including aquaporin-4 autoimmunity, CASPR2 autoimmunity, autoimmune GFAP astrocytopathy and paraneoplastic encephalomyelopathies, may also occur in children.

Andrew McKeon, M.B., B.Ch., M.D, gives an overview of this test available through Mayo Clinic Laboratories. He discusses when this testing should be ordered, how this testing compares to other testing approaches, and what clinical action can be taken due to the results of this testing.

Should I Test in CSF or Serum?

At MCL, we recommend testing in both serum and spinal fluid. Certain antibodies (i.e., NMDA) are more specifically detected in spinal fluid and not in serum. This is especially the case in children with autoimmune encephalitis. If testing is not performed on both specimen types, autoantibodies could be missed and patients could be mistreated.


Useful for:

  • Evaluating children with an autoimmune CNS disorder

Specimen Requirements

Spinal Fluid

Container/Tube: Sterile vial

Specimen Volume: 4 mL


Container/Tube Preferred: Red top

Acceptable: Serum gel

Specimen Volume: 4 mL

Performance Information

Day(s) and Time(s) Test Performed 

Monday through Friday; Varies

Analytic Time

5 days

For more information on how to order Pediatric Evaluations at your institution, fill out the form below.

Alyssa Frank

Alyssa Frank is a Marketing Segment Manager at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. She leads marketing strategies for product management and specialty testing. Alyssa has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2015.