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Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) and multiple sclerosis (MS) are demyelinating disorders of the central nervous system. Interferon regulatory factor 5 (IRF5) is a common susceptibility gene to different autoimmune disorders. However, the association of IRF5 variants with NMO and MS patients has not been well studied. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate whether IRF5 variants were associated with NMO and MS in the Southeastern Han Chinese population.Four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were selected and genotyped by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time of flight mass spectrometry in 111 NMO patients, 145 MS patients and 300 controls from Southeastern China.None of these 4 SNPs was associated with NMO or MS patients.Our preliminary study indicates that genetic variants in IRF5 may affect neither NMO nor MS in the Southeastern Han Chinese population. Further studies with a large sample size and diverse ancestry populations are needed to clarify this issue.