A concept of neuromyelitis optica in Japan

Ichiro Nakashima, Kazuo Fujihara, Yasuto Itoyama

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system characterized by relapses of optic neuritis and acute myelitis. The disease was referred to as the optic-spinal form of multiple sclerosis (OSMS) in Japan for a long period. A specific auto-antibody, NMO-IgG, was detected in the serum of NMO patients, and aquaporin-4 water channel protein was detected as its target antigen; aquaporin-4 water channel protein is localized at the end-feet of astrocytes. Because of the presence of this specific serum auto-antibody, most OSMS patients in Japan were found to exhibit a disease that was identical to NMO that affects individuals of the Western countries. Since the discovery of NMO-IgG, various clinical and histopathological features of this condition have been recognized; in addition the concept of NMO has been established in Japan as well as in many other countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)913-920
Number of pages8
JournalBrain and Nerve
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Sept


  • Aquaporin-4
  • Astrocyte
  • Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)
  • Neuromyelitis optica (NMO)
  • Optic-spinal form of multiple sclerosis (OSMS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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