Open Access Research article

Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders without and with autoimmune diseases

Bingjun Zhang1, Yi Zhong2, Yanqiang Wang1, Yongqiang Dai1, Wei Qiu1, Lei Zhang1, Haiyan Li1 and Zhengqi Lu1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neurology, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, No 600 Tianhe Road, Guangzhou 510630, Guangdong, China

2 Department of Rheumatology and Immunology, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China

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BMC Neurology 2014, 14:162  doi:10.1186/s12883-014-0162-7

Published: 19 August 2014

Abstract

Background

Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) can coexist with non-organ-specific or organ-specific autoimmune diseases. The aim of this study was to investigate and compare the features between NMOSD without and with autoimmune diseases, and NMOSD with non-organ-specific and organ-specific autoimmune diseases.

Methods

One hundred and fifty five NMOSD patients without autoimmune diseases (n = 115) and with autoimmune diseases (n = 40) were enrolled. NMOSD with autoimmune diseases were divided by organ-specific autoimmune diseases. The clinical, laboratory and magnetic resonance imaging features between two groups were assessed.

Results

Motor deficit was less frequent in NMOSD patients with non-organ-specific autoimmune diseases (p = 0.024). Cerebrospinal fluid white blood cell and protein, serum C-reactive protein and immunoglobulin G were lower in NMOSD patients without autoimmune diseases, while several autoantibodies seropositivity and thyroid indexes were significantly higher in NMOSD patients with autoimmune diseases (p < 0.05). No difference was found in other clinical and laboratory characteristics between different NMOSD subtypes (p > 0.05). NMOSD patients with autoimmune diseases had higher brain abnormalities than NMOSD without autoimmune diseases (p < 0.001).

Conclusions

The characteristics between NMOSD without and with autoimmune diseases were similar. NMOSD with autoimmune diseases have high frequency of brain abnormalities.

Keywords:
Neuromyelitis optica; Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder; Non-organ-specific autoimmune diseases; Organ-specific autoimmune diseases; Autoantibodies; Magnetic resonance imaging