BACKGROUND: Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is a disease of the CNS characterized by severe optic neuritis and longitudinally extended transverse myelitis. Recent studies suggest that anti-aquaporin-4 (AQP4) antibodies, NMO-specific biomarkers, are pathogenic and target AQP4-expressing astrocytes in NMO, although an additional event (T-cell response or infection) should occur for anti-AQP4 antibodies and complements to pass through the blood-brain barrier and cause the CNS lesions. AQP4 is the major water channel in the CNS, but it is also expressed in fast-twitch skeletal muscle fibers. However, muscle diseases have not been described in NMO. METHODS: We retrospectively examined the serologic database of 733 cases of NMO with anti-AQP4 antibody at the Department of Neurology, Tohoku University School of Medicine. The serum samples were sent to our laboratory for testing anti-AQP4 antibody from around the country during the period from 2006 to 2009. RESULTS: We found 3 anti-AQP4 antibody-positive female patients (7, 34, and 67 years old) with NMO who had episodes of prominent hyperCKemia (12,520, 19,415, and 59,660 IU/L) with general fatigue some weeks before the onset of optic neuritis. HyperCKemia was transient without any treatment in all patients, but recurred once in one of them. CONCLUSIONS: These cases suggest that hyperCKemia may be involved in the pathogenesis of neuromyelitis optica (NMO) in a fraction of patients. The causes of transient hyperCKemia are unknown. Further studies are needed to know the frequency of hyperCKemia in NMO and clarify its pathogenic role.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology