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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2013, Article ID 713519, 6 pages
Clinical Study

Interferon Alpha Association with Neuromyelitis Optica

1Department of Neurology, Vejle Hospital, 7100 Vejle, Denmark
2Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Southern Denmark, J.B. Winsloewsvej 19,3, 5000 Odense C, Denmark
3Institute of Regional Health Research, University of Southern Denmark, 29 Sdr. Boulevard, 5000 Odense C, Denmark
4Department of Rheumatology, Odense University Hospital, Winsloewsvej 19B, 2., 5000 Odense C, Denmark
5Department of Biostatistics, University of Southern Denmark, 29 Sdr. Boulevard, 5000 Odense C, Denmark
6Odense Patient Data Explorative Network, Odense University Hospital, Soenderjyllands, Hospital, Egelund 10, 6200 Aabenraa, Denmark
7The Multiple Sclerosis Clinic of Southern Jutland, Vejle, Esbjerg, Soenderborg, Denmark
8Department of Neurology, Sønderborg Hospital, Denmark
9Department of Clinical Immunology, Odense University Hospital, Denmark

Received 21 August 2013; Revised 9 October 2013; Accepted 11 October 2013

Academic Editor: D. Craig Hooper

Copyright © 2013 Nasrin Asgari et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Interferon-alpha (IFN-α) has immunoregulatory functions in autoimmune inflammatory diseases. The goal of this study was to determine occurrence and clinical consequences of IFN-α in neuromyelitis optica (NMO) patients. Thirty-six NMO and 41 multiple sclerosis (MS) patients from a population-based retrospective case series were included. Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score and MRI findings determined disease activity. Linear regression was used to assess the effects of the level of IFN-α on disability (EDSS). IFN-α was determined by sensitive ELISA assays. IFN-α was detectable in sera from 9/36 NMO patients, significantly more often than in the MS group (2/41) ( ). A higher frequency of IFN-α was observed in NMO patients with acute relapse compared to NMO patients in remission ( ) and compared to the MS patients with relapse ( ). In NMO patients, the levels of IFN-α were significantly associated with EDSS ( ). It may be concluded that IFN-α was detectable in a subgroup of NMO patients. Association of IFN-α levels with clinical disease activity and severity suggests a role for IFN-α in disease perpetuation and may provide a plausible explanation for a negative effect of IFN-1 treatment in NMO patients.