Population-Based Incidence of Optic Neuritis in the Era of Aquaporin-4 and Myelin Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein Antibodies

Mohamed B. Hassan, Caroline Stern, Eoin P. Flanagan, Sean J. Pittock, Amy Kunchok, Robert C. Foster, Jiraporn Jitprapaikulsan, David O. Hodge, M. Tariq Bhatti, John J. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: To re-evaluate the population-based incidence of optic neuritis in the era of aquaporin-4-immunoglobulin G (AQP4-IgG) and myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)-IgG, which are biomarkers of optic neuritis that is distinct from multiple sclerosis (MS). Over the past 15 years, 2 new biomarkers have been discovered that allow for further characterization of the cause of atypical optic neuritis: AQP4-IgG and MOG-IgG. Design: Retrospective, population-based cohort. Setting: population-based. Participants: all residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota, with optic neuritis diagnosed between January 1, 2000, and December 31, 2018. Methods: The Rochester Epidemiology Project database was used to identify patients. Sera were tested for AQP4-IgG and MOG-IgG by using a live-cell-based flow cytometry assay. Main outcome measurements were the incidence and cause of optic neuritis. Results: Optic neuritis was diagnosed in 110 patients, providing an annual incidence of 3.9 per 100,000. The final diagnosis was MS in 57%, idiopathic in 29%, MOG-IgG-associated disorder in 5%, AQP4-IgG-seropositive neuromyelitis optic spectrum disorder (NMOSD) in 3%, infectious type in 2%, sarcoidosis in 2%, seronegative NMOSD in 1%, and medication-related in 1%. All 3 patients positive for AQP4-IgG had more than 1 optic neuritis attack, 2 with residual no light perception vision in at least 1 eye. Among MOG-IgG-positive patients, 4 of 6 patients had recurrent optic neuritis, and all 6 had a final visual acuity of 20/30 or better. Conclusions: At a population level, AQP4-IgG and MOG-IgG account for 9% of optic neuritis and are associated with recurrent attacks, but MOG-IgG optic neuritis has a better visual outcome than AQP4-IgG optic neuritis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-114
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of ophthalmology
StatePublished - Dec 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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