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Comprehensive analysis of patients with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) combined with chronic hepatitis B (CHB) infection and seropositive for anti-aquaporin-4 antibody

Jia Liu, Li Xu, Zhuo-lin Chen, Min Li, Huan Yi, Fu-hua Peng


Previous research indicated the association between hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection/vaccination and the onset of demyelinating diseases. However, most of these studies were single case reports, and comprehensive data are still scarce. Here we present a comprehensive analysis of 10 patients with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) combined with chronic hepatitis B (CHB) infection and seropositive for anti-aquaporin-4 antibody (AQP4-Ab). Demographic, clinical, laboratory, neuroimaging, outcome, and follow-up data of the 10 patients were retrospectively analyzed. The median age at the onset of NMOSD was 35 years (range 25-43). Nine patients were female (90%). All patients were positive for HBsAg and had been diagnosed with CHB earlier than with NMOSD. One patient had an autoimmune disease. All patients had normal thyroid function. Paresthesia and visual impairment were the most common clinical symptoms. The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) parameters (protein and glucose) were normal in 10 cases, whereas slightly higher CSF white blood cell count was detected in 3 patients. The brain and spinal cord magnetic resonance imaging findings were abnormal in 8 patients. All patients were treated with hormone and immunosuppressive therapy, and anti-HBV agents. Patients with detectable serum HBV DNA were more prone to liver damage after receiving high doses of corticosteroids. In 8 patients, the symptoms improved before they were discharged. Two patients with optic neuritis (ON) maintained the symptoms. A month later, 1/8 patient had recurrence of symptoms, and one ON patient progressed to NMO. Overall, the characteristics of NMOSD patients with CHB and seropositive for AQP4-Ab are usually nonspecific. Abnormal liver function test results in NMOSD patients should be a warning of possible CHB infection, and the treatment should be modified accordingly.


Aquaporin-4; AQP4; neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder; NMOSD; hepatitis B; HBV; CHB; liver function

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