Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMOSD) were generally thought to affect only central nervous system and spare peripheral aquaporin-4 (AQP4)-expressing organs. In recent years, however, increasing evidence has shown that skeletal muscle is involved in NMOSD. We provided a comprehensive review of the relevant literature and summarized the clinical and pathological characteristics of myopathy associated with NMOSD. NMOSD-associated myopathy seems to be characterized by mild muscle symptoms with prominent hyperCKemia and minimal changes on conventional pathological staining. Loss of AQP4 and deposition of IgG and activated complement products on sarcolemma of type II fibers are diagnostic features on immunohistochemical examinations. Creatine kinase leakage as a result of AQP4-IgG-induced, complement-mediated sarcolemmal injury may be a potential mechanism for hyperCKemia. Myopathy should be considered a component of NMOSD unified by AQP4-IgG seropositivity.
Keywords: AQP4-IgG; hyperCKemia; longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis; myopathy; neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders; optic neuritis.