Racial differences in neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder

Su Hyun Kim, Maureen A. Mealy, Michael Levy, Felix Schmidt, Klemens Ruprecht, Friedemann Paul, Marius Ringelstein, Orhan Aktas, Hans Peter Hartung, Nasrin Asgari, Jessica Li Tsz-Ching, Sasitorn Siritho, Naraporn Prayoonwiwat, Hyun June Shin, Jae Won Hyun, Mira Han, Maria Isabel Leite, Jacqueline Palace, Ho Jin Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective We aimed to evaluate racial differences in the clinical features of neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder. Methods This retrospective review included 603 patients (304 Asian, 207 Caucasian, and 92 Afro- American/Afro-European), who were seropositive for anti-aquaporin-4 antibody, from 6 centers in Denmark, Germany, South Korea, United Kingdom, United States, and Thailand. Results Median disease duration at last follow-up was 8 years (range 0.3-38.4 years). Asian and Afro- American/Afro-European patients had a younger onset age than Caucasian patients (mean 36, 33, and 44 years, respectively; p < 0.001). During the disease course, Caucasian patients (23%) had a lower incidence of brain/brainstem involvement than Asian (42%) and Afro-American/ Afro-European patients (38%) (p < 0.001). Severe attacks (visual acuity ≤0.1 in at least one eye or Expanded Disability Status Scale score ≥6.0 at nadir) at onset occurred more frequently in Afro-American/Afro-European (58%) than in Asian (46%) and Caucasian (38%) patients (p = 0.005). In the multivariable analysis, older age at onset, higher number of attacks before and after immunosuppressive treatment, but not race, were independent predictors of severe motor disabilities at last follow-up. Conclusion A review of a large international cohort revealed that race affected the clinical phenotype, age at onset, and severity of attacks, but the overall outcome was most dependent on early and effective immunosuppressive treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E2089-E2099
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 27 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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