The role of anti-aquaporin 4 antibody in the conversion of acute brainstem syndrome to neuromyelitis optica

Chen Cheng, Ying Jiang, Xiaodong Lu, Fu Gu, Zhuang Kang, Yongqiang Dai, Zhengqi Lu, Xueqiang Hu

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Acute brainstem syndrome (ABS) may herald multiple sclerosis (MS), neuromyelitis optica (NMO), or occur as an isolated syndrome. The aquaporin 4 (AQP4)-specific serum autoantibody, NMO-IgG, is a biomarker for NMO. However, the role of anti-AQP4 antibody in the conversion of ABS to NMO is unclear. Methods: Thirty-one patients with first-event ABS were divided into two groups according to the presence of anti-AQP4 antibodies, their clinical features and outcomes were retrospectively analyzed. Results: Fourteen of 31 patients (45.16 %) were seropositive for NMO-IgG. The 71.43 % of anti-AQP4 (+) ABS patients converted to NMO, while only 11.76 % of anti-AQP4 (-) ABS patients progressed to NMO. Anti-AQP4 (+) ABS patients demonstrated a higher IgG index (0.68 ± 0.43 vs 0.42 ± 0.13, p < 0.01) and Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale (4.64 ± 0.93 vs 2.56 ± 0.81, p < 0.01) than anti-AQP4 (-) ABS patients. Area postrema clinical brainstem symptoms occurred more frequently in anti-AQP4 (+) ABS patients than those in anti-AQP4 (-) ABS patients (71.43 % vs 17.65 %, p = 0.004). In examination of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the 78.57 % of anti-AQP4 (+) ABS patients had medulla-predominant involvements in the sagittal view and dorsal-predominant involvements in the axial view. Conclusions: ABS represents an inaugural or limited form of NMO in a high proportion of anti-AQP4 (+) patients.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Neurology
Issue number1
Early online date21 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished Online - 21 Oct 2016


  • Acute brainstem syndrome
  • Anti-aquaporin 4 antibody
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Neuromyelitis optica


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of anti-aquaporin 4 antibody in the conversion of acute brainstem syndrome to neuromyelitis optica'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this