Brainstem and cerebellar involvement in MOG-IgG-associated disorder versus aquaporin-4-IgG and MS

Samantha A. Banks, Padraig P. Morris, John J. Chen, Sean J. Pittock, Elia Sechi, Amy Kunchok, Jan Mendelt Tillema, James P. Fryer, Brian G. Weinshenker, Karl N. Krecke, A. Sebastian Lopez-Chiriboga, Adam Nguyen, Tammy M. Greenwood, Claudia F. Lucchinetti, Nicholas L. Zalewski, Steven A. Messina, Eoin P. Flanagan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


To determine the frequency and characteristics of brainstem or cerebellar involvement in myelin-oligodendrocyte-glycoprotein-antibody-associated-disorder (MOGAD) versus aquaporin-4-IgG-seropositive-neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (AQP4-IgG-NMOSD) and multiple sclerosis (MS). Methods In this observational study, we retrospectively identified 185 Mayo Clinic MOGAD patients with: (1) characteristic MOGAD phenotype, (2) MOG-IgG seropositivity by live cell-based assay and (3) MRI lesion(s) of brainstem, cerebellum or both. We compared the symptomatic attacks to AQP4-IgG-NMOSD (n=30) and MS (n=30). Results Brainstem or cerebellar involvement occurred in 62/185 (34%) MOGAD patients of which 39/62 (63%) were symptomatic. Ataxia (45%) and diplopia (26%) were common manifestations. The median age in years (range) in MOGAD of 24 (2-65) was younger than MS at 36 (16-65; p=0.046) and AQP4-IgG-NMOSD at 45 (6-72; p=0.006). Isolated attacks involving the brainstem, cerebellum or both were less frequent in MOGAD (9/39 (23%)) than MS (22/30 (73%); p<0.001) but not significantly different from AQP4-IgG-NMOSD (14/30 (47%); p=0.07). Diffuse middle cerebellar peduncle MRI-lesions favoured MOGAD (17/37 (46%)) over MS (3/30 (10%); p=0.001) and AQP4-IgG-NMOSD (3/30 (10%); p=0.001). Diffuse medulla, pons or midbrain MRI lesions occasionally occurred in MOGAD and AQP4-IgG-NMOSD but never in MS. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) oligoclonal bands were rare in MOGAD (5/30 (17%)) and AQP4-IgG-NMOSD (2/22 (9%); p=0.68) but common in MS (18/22 (82%); p<0.001). Disability at nadir or recovery did not differ between the groups. Conclusion Involvement of the brainstem, cerebellum or both is common in MOGAD but usually occurs as a component of a multifocal central nervous system attack rather than in isolation. We identified clinical, CSF and MRI attributes that can help discriminate MOGAD from AQP4-IgG-NMOSD and MS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)384-390
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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