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Neurology Research International
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 460825, 13 pages
Review Article

Neuromyelitis Optica: An Antibody-Mediated Disorder of the Central Nervous System

Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 600 N. Wolfe Street, Pathology 509, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA

Received 7 July 2011; Revised 4 October 2011; Accepted 13 October 2011

Academic Editor: Philippe Cabre

Copyright © 2012 Jiwon Oh and Michael Levy. 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.


Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is a recurrent inflammatory disease that preferentially targets the optic nerves and spinal cord leading to blindness and paralysis. The hallmarks of NMO include bilateral optic neuritis and longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis. Woman and African Americans are overrepresented in the US patient population. NMO is associated with the NMO-IgG biomarker, which targets the aquaporin-4 water channel on astrocytes. The humoral pathology of NMO lesions include IgG and IgM deposits and infiltration by granulocytes suggesting that the NMO-IgG may be involved in the pathogenesis of disease. This review of the recent NMO literature covers the clinical features, epidemiology, radiology and pathology of disease and includes discussion of the important basic science research work in the field.