Type I interferon (IFN-I) and T helper 17 (TH17) drive pathology in neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) and in TH17-induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (TH17-EAE). This is paradoxical because the prevalent theory is that IFN-I inhibits TH17 function. Here we report that a cascade involving IFN-I, IL-6 and B cells promotes TH17-mediated neuro-autoimmunity. In NMOSD, elevated IFN-I signatures, IL-6 and IL-17 are associated with severe disability. Furthermore, IL-6 and IL-17 levels are lower in patients on anti-CD20 therapy. In mice, IFN-I elevates IL-6 and exacerbates TH17-EAE. Strikingly, IL-6 blockade attenuates disease only in mice treated with IFN-I. By contrast, B-cell-deficiency attenuates TH17-EAE in the presence or absence of IFN-I treatment. Finally, IFN-I stimulates B cells to produce IL-6 to drive pathogenic TH17 differentiation in vitro. Our data thus provide an explanation for the paradox surrounding IFN-I and TH17 in neuro-autoimmunity, and may have utility in predicting therapeutic response in NMOSD.