Sera from patients with seropositive neuromyelitis optica spectral disorders caused the degeneration of rodent optic nerve

Yoshiko Matsumoto, Akiyasu Kanamori, Makoto Nakamura, Toshiyuki Takahashi, Ichiro Nakashima, Akira Negi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is an autoimmune inflammatory, neurodestructive disease primarily targeting the optic nerve and spinal cord. An autoantibody against water channel protein aquaporin-4 (AQP4), which is expressed at endofeet of astrocytes has been implicated in the pathogenesis of NMO. We evaluated the impact of sera of seropositive patients with NMO spectrum disorders (NMOSDs) on the rodent optic nerve and retina. Serum was obtained either from patients with seropositive NMOSD (AQP4+), seronegative patient with idiopathic optic neuritis (AQP4-), and healthy volunteers (control). Anti-AQP4 antibody in a serum was measured by a previously established cell-based assay. The patients' sera were applied on the optic nerve after de-sheathed. Immunohistochemistry showed that at 7 days after the treatment, the area of the optic nerve exposed to the AQP4+ sera lost expression of both AQP4 and glial fibrillary acidic protein. Also, Human-IgG immunoreactivity and marked invasion of inflammation cells were observed in the optic nerve treated with AQP4+ serum. Immnoreactivity of neurofilament was reduced at 14 days after the treatment, not 7 days. Real-time polymerase chain reaction revealed the reduced gene expression of neurofilament in retina from the eye that was exposed to the AQP4+ sera at 14 days. Retrograde fluorogold-labeling on the retinal flatmount disclosed the significantly reduced number of retinal ganglion cells when the AQP4+ sera were applied. The present model has demonstrated that the sera from patients with seropositive NMOSDs led to the regional astrocytic degeneration and inflammatory cell invasion in the optic nerve, resulting in the ultimate loss of RGCs and their axons at areas beyond the injury site.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-69
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental Eye Research
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Feb


  • Aquaporin-4
  • Astrocyte
  • Nerve fibers
  • Neuromyelitis optica
  • Optic nerve
  • Optic neuritis
  • Serum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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