Conformation-sensitive antibodies against myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) are detectable in patients with optic neuritis, myelitis, opticomyelitis, acute or multiphasic disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM/MDEM) and brainstem/cerebral cortical encephalitis, but are rarely detected in patients with prototypic multiple sclerosis. So far, there has been no systematic study on the pathological relationship between demyelinating lesions and cellular/humoral immunity in MOG antibody-associated disease. Furthermore, it is unclear whether the pathomechanisms of MOG antibody-mediated demyelination are similar to the demyelination patterns of multiple sclerosis, neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMOSD) with AQP4 antibody, or ADEM. In this study, we immunohistochemically analysed biopsied brain tissues from 11 patients with MOG antibody-associated disease and other inflammatory demyelinating diseases. Patient median onset age was 29 years (range 9-64), and the median interval from attack to biopsy was 1 month (range 0.5-96). The clinical diagnoses were ADEM (n = 2), MDEM (n = 1), multiple brain lesions without encephalopathy (n = 3), leukoencephalopathy (n = 3) and cortical encephalitis (n = 2). All these cases had multiple/extensive lesions on MRI and were oligoclonal IgG band-negative. Most demyelinating lesions in 10 of 11 cases showed a perivenous demyelinating pattern previously reported in ADEM (153/167 lesions) and a fusion pattern (11/167 lesions) mainly in the corticomedullary junctions and white matter, and only three lesions in two cases showed confluent demyelinated plaques. In addition, 60 of 167 demyelinating lesions (mainly in the early phase) showed MOG-dominant myelin loss, but relatively preserved oligodendrocytes, which were distinct from those of AQP4 antibody-positive NMOSD exhibiting myelin-associated glycoprotein-dominant oligodendrogliopathy. In MOG antibody-associated diseases, MOG-laden macrophages were found in the perivascular spaces and demyelinating lesions, and infiltrated cells were abundant surrounding multiple blood vessels in and around the demyelinating lesions, mainly consisting of macrophages (CD68; 1814 ± 1188 cells/mm2), B cells (CD20; 468 ± 817 cells/mm2), and T cells (CD3; 2286 ± 1951 cells/mm2), with CD4-dominance (CD4 + versus CD8 +; 1281 ± 1196 cells/mm2 versus 851 ± 762 cells/mm2, P 5 0.01). Humoral immunity, evidenced by perivascular deposits of activated complements and immunoglobulins, was occasionally observed in some MOG antibody-associated demyelinating lesions, and the frequency was much lower than that in AQP4 antibody-positive NMOSD. Subpial lesions with perivenous demyelination were observed in both ADEM and cortical encephalitis. Our study suggests that ADEM-like perivenous inflammatory demyelination with MOG-dominant myelin loss is a characteristic finding of MOG antibody-associated disease regardless of whether the diagnostic criteria of ADEM are met. These pathological features are clearly different from those of multiple sclerosis and AQP4 antibody-positive NMOSD, suggesting an independent autoimmune demyelinating disease entity.
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