Original article| Volume 45, 102399, October 2020

Clinical and laboratory features distinguishing MOG antibody disease from multiple sclerosis and AQP4 antibody-positive neuromyelitis optica


      • Distinguishing MOG antibody disease (MOGAD) from MS and NMO can be difficult.
      • Optic neuritis in MOGAD patients was more frequent and severe compared to MS.
      • Optic neuritis in MOGAD was often relapsing and/or bilateral.
      • MOGAD attacks had a similar nadir but better recovery than NMO attacks.
      • MOGAD was also defined by its characteristically modest CSF abnormalities.



      Antibodies to myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) are associated with a CNS inflammatory disorder distinct from multiple sclerosis (MS) and aquaporin-4 antibody-positive neuromyelitis optica (NMO). Knowledge of the clinical spectrum of MOG antibody disease (MOGAD) remains incomplete, particularly in comparison to two related inflammatory demyelinating diseases, MS and NMO.


      Compare demographics, clinical characteristics, estimated disability, laboratory results, and treatment responses of a U.S. MOGAD cohort with age- and sex-matched MS and NMO patients.

      Design, setting, and participants

      This observational, case-control, single-center study identified each group via ICD-10 diagnosis code searches through the electronic medical records of adult patients seen at the John L. Trotter MS Center between January 1, 2019 and January 1, 2020. MOGAD and NMO patients were confirmed to have at least one positive antibody test; those in the MS group had a confirmed diagnosis by a physician with MS subspecialty training. Data were collected after IRB approval.


      Twenty-six patients were included in each group. MOGAD patients were predominantly Caucasian (88.5%) with mean onset age of 43.9 years. MOGAD patients had no comorbid other autoimmune diseases and comparatively lower rates of family members with autoimmune disease (20.0%) than either MS (40.0%) or NMO (34.6%) matched cohorts. 91% of MOGAD attacks were monofocal, and over 70% presented with optic neuritis. Severity of MOGAD attacks was similar to that of seropositive NMO, but the robust degree of recovery was more similar to MS. Four MOGAD patients converted to negative antibody status, with no attacks occurring after conversion. Serum ANA and ENA were less frequently elevated in MOGAD (21.7%, 5.0%) than in seropositive NMO patients (66.7%, 42.9%). Elevated IgG synthesis rate and positive CSF-restricted oligoclonal bands were not seen in our MOGAD cohort, and only one MOGAD patient had an elevated IgG index. Despite anti-CD20 therapy, 28.6% of MOGAD patients continued to suffer relapses.


      MOGAD was characterized by a predominantly monofocal presentation (typically optic neuritis) and severe attacks with better recovery than seen with seropositive NMO attacks. Lack of CSF-restricted oligoclonal bands distinguished MOGAD from MS.


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