History of neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders, development of the diagnostic critera

Authors: P. Nytrová
Authors‘ workplace: Neurologická klinika a Centrum klinických neurověd, 1. LF UK a VFN v Praze
Published in: Cesk Slov Neurol N 2020; 83/116(supplementum 1): 5-10
doi: 10.14735/amcsnn2020S5


Eugene Devic defined neuromyelitis optica (NMO) as a monophasic syndrome characterized by bilateral optic neuritis and acute myelitis at the end of 19th century. When we look at the whole 19th century, prior to the definition of NMO, we can find publications about the coincidence of an impairment of the optic nerves and spinal cord of different etiology than in neurosyphilis. The original Devic’s concept of the monophasic syndrome was adjusted to predominantly relapsing--remitting disorder with clinical manifestation affecting not only optic nerves and the spinal cord, but also the brain stem and other parts of the CNS during 20th century. In 2007, the diagnostic criteria for NMO spectrum disorders were published for this reason and were updated in 2015. The discovery of antibodies to aquaporin-4 played an important role in all these events. This serological biomarker has been implemented into the diagnostic criteria. Furthermore, these antibodies facilitated differentiation between NMO and MS. The assessment of aquaporin-4 improves the diagnostic procedure of the autoimmune inflammatory disorders of the CNS.


Multiple sclerosis – diagnostic criteria – history – neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders – MOG encephalomyelitis


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Paediatric neurology Neurosurgery Neurology
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