Central nervous system neuroinflammatory disorders in Asian/Pacific regions

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Purpose of review

The discovery of aquaporin-4 (AQP4) antibodies with high specificity for neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) has induced tremendous changes in the approach and management of central nervous system (CNS) neuroinflammatory disorders. Owing to the increasing availability of the AQP4 antibody assay and evolution of diagnostic criteria for multiple sclerosis and NMOSD, recent studies have reevaluated CNS neuroinflammatory disorders. This review describes recent advances in the understanding of CNS neuroinflammatory disorders in Asian/Pacific regions.

Recent findings

Although multiple sclerosis prevalence is lower in Asian countries than in Western countries, the overall clinical features of multiple sclerosis are comparable between these countries. Hospital-based studies have reported that the frequency of NMOSD is higher in Asian populations (22–42%) than in white populations (2–26%). Despite improvements in the AQP4 antibody assay, AQP4 antibodies are not detected in certain patients with NMOSD. Recently, myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) antibodies have been identified in AQP4 antibody-negative patients with the NMOSD phenotype, and the clinical features differ slightly between MOG antibody-positive patients and AQP4 antibody-positive patients.


The understanding of CNS neuroinflammatory disorders in Asian/Pacific regions continues to evolve owing to the discovery of new biological markers and recognition of broader clinical phenotypes.

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