Diagnosing neuromyelitis optica

Neuroimaging Clin N Am. 2013 May;23(2):279-91. doi: 10.1016/j.nic.2012.12.007. Epub 2013 Jan 21.


Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is a severe inflammatory demyelinating disorder typically characterized by attacks of recurrent optic neuritis and transverse myelitis. Advances in magnetic resonance imaging techniques and the discovery of the relatively specific NMO IgG biomarker have led to improved diagnostic accuracy and greater recognition of the broad clinical spectrum of aquaporin 4-related autoimmunity. Brain lesions in NMO typically follow the distribution of aquaporin 4 expression and may be symptomatic. Prompt diagnosis of NMO and NMO spectrum disorders has important therapeutic implications given the high risk of recurrent attacks and consequent severe disability, especially in childhood-onset disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aquaporin 4 / immunology
  • Brain / pathology
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Neuromyelitis Optica / diagnosis*
  • Neuromyelitis Optica / immunology
  • Optic Nerve / immunology
  • Optic Nerve / pathology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Spinal Cord / immunology
  • Spinal Cord / pathology*


  • AQP4 protein, human
  • Aquaporin 4
  • Immunoglobulin G