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Prognostic implications of aquaporin-4 antibody status in neuromyelitis optica patients

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Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is an inflammatory/demyelinating disorder predominantly affecting the optic nerves and spinal cord. Recent findings showed an underlying humoral abnormality in NMO, characterized by a serum antibody against aquaporin-4 (Aqp-4-Ab). In this study, we evaluated the Aqp-4-Ab status among Turkish patients with NMO to determine the clinical and prognostic relevance. Serum samples from 35 consecutive patients with NMO followed at a single center and diagnosed according to the 2006 revised criteria, were evaluated for Aqp-4-Ab. All samples were obtained during a relapse prior to any immunosuppressive treatment. Aqp-4-Ab was positive in 21/35 (60%) patients. Among these cases, 11 had an EDSS of 6.0 or more, whereas only two patients in the seronegative group had such severe disability (p < 0.05). Overall, seropositive cases had a mean EDSS score of 5.1 ± 2.2 compared with 3.5 ± 1.7 in seronegative cases (p < 0.01). There were trends towards female predominance in seropositive cases and a monophasic course predominance in seronegative cases. Disease duration, age at onset, number of attacks and time to definite NMO did not differ between groups. Our findings in this single-center cohort suggest that the presence of Aqp-4-Ab might have a prognostic significance indicating a more severe disease course.

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Correspondence to Gulsen Akman-Demir.

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G. Akman-Demir and E. Tüzün share the first authorship.

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Akman-Demir, G., Tüzün, E., Waters, P. et al. Prognostic implications of aquaporin-4 antibody status in neuromyelitis optica patients. J Neurol 258, 464–470 (2011).

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