NMOSD primarily affects the optic nerve and the spinal cord. The most common symptoms of NMOSD are optic neuritis and transverse myelitis.
Approximately three-quarters (73%) of all patients with NMOSD have anti-AQP4 autoantibodies.9 In patients with anti-AQP4 antibody-positive NMOSD, the body’s own immune system can turn against itself to produce autoantibodies against anti-AQP4, a protein in certain cells in the eyes, brain, and spinal cord that is critical for the survival of nerve cells. The binding of anti-AQP4 autoantibodies to specific cells in the CNS activates the complement cascade, another part of the immune system. Complement activation by anti-AQP4 autoantibodies can cause destruction of vital cells in the CNS, leading to demyelination and to the death of neurons, predominantly in the spinal cord and optic nerve.1,10,11
Some symptoms of NMOSD3-7
- Problems with vision including eye pain and blindness
- Severe weakness and impaired mobility
- Sensory and motor disability
- Respiratory dysfunction/failure
- Loss of bowel, bladder function