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INTRODUCTION. Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) or Devic’s disease is an autoimmune, inflammatory and demyelinating central nervous system disorder that affects mainly to optic nerve and spinal cord. Recent advances have substantially permitted to expand the knowledge about this entity.
AIM. To present a clinical update on the current understanding of the nature, progression, diagnosis and treatment of NMO. DEVELOPMENT. Due to its demyelinating nature and its recurrent behavior in most cases, NMO was first considered a form of multiple sclerosis (MS). However, recent findings have led to the conclusion that NMO is a distinct disorder, presenting important immunopathological, clinical, prognostic and therapeutic differences from MS. Fundamental in the understanding of the disease was the recent discovery of antibodies directed against aquaporin-4 (anti-AQP4, also known as NMO-IgG), which are present in the majority of NMO cases clinically defined, and in a minority of patients with MS. Despite the knowledge on its immunopathogenesis and advances in diagnosis, the treatment of NMO is still challenging. CONCLUSION. NMO is a demyelinating disease different from MS. Current diagnostic criteria have been enriched with the recent description of the humoral disorder underlying NMO. However, current treatment options for NMO are far from being ideal.
Anti-aquaporin-4 antibodiesDemyelinationDevic’s diseaseMyelitisNeuromyelitis opticaNMO-IgGOptic neuritis