The spectrum of neuromyelitis optica

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1548 Scopus citations


Neuromyelitis optica (also known as Devic's disease) is an idiopathic, severe, demyelinating disease of the central nervous system that preferentially affects the optic nerve and spinal cord. Neuromyelitis optica has a worldwide distribution, poor prognosis, and has long been thought of as a variant of multiple sclerosis; however, clinical, laboratory, immunological, and pathological characteristics that distinguish it from multiple sclerosis are now recognised. The presence of a highly specific serum autoantibody marker (NMO-IgG) further differentiates neuromyelitis optica from multiple sclerosis and has helped to define a neuromyelitis optica spectrum of disorders. NMO-IgG reacts with the water channel aquaporin 4. Data suggest that autoantibodies to aquaporin 4 derived from peripheral B cells cause the activation of complement, inflammatory demyelination, and necrosis that is seen in neuromyelitis optica. The knowledge gained from further assessment of the exact role of NMO-IgG in the pathogenesis of neuromyelitis optica will provide a foundation for rational therapeutic trials for this rapidly disabling disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)805-815
Number of pages11
JournalLancet Neurology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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