The presence of anti-Sjögren’s syndrome A/Ro (anti-SSA/Ro) antibodies may be associated with disease activity and more severe disability in patients with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD), according to results of a study published in Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.

The researchers showed that patients with anti-SSA/Ro antibodies were more likely to be positive (89.2% vs 72.3%; P =.046) for anti-aquaporin-4 antibodies (AQP4-IgG).

Patients with NMOSD and anti-SSA/Ro antibodies had a shorter time to relapse (24 months vs 60 months; P =.039) and to reach an Expanded Disability Status Scale score of 4 (24 months vs 84 months; P =.035) than patients with NMOSD who were negative for anti-SSA/Ro.

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Patients with anti-SSA/Ro positive were also more likely to be positive for other autoantibodies including anti-nuclear (P =.002), anti-Sjögren’s syndrome B (P <.001), and anti-double-stranded DNA (P <.002) antibodies as well as with Sjögren’s syndrome (P <.001) and systemic lupus erythematosus (P =.045).

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“Our findings confirmed that the anti-SSA/Ro antibody was frequently observed in NMOSD, shedding light on the difference in clinical and paraclinical characteristics of NMOSD with or without anti-SSA/Ro antibody,” the authors said. “It is noteworthy that anti-SSA/Ro antibody might predict undesirable consequences in NMOSD.”

A total of 102 patients with NMOSD were enrolled in the study with 37 (36.3%) testing positive for anti-SSA/Ro. Relapse of the disease occurred in 75 (73%) of the patients during the study period with infection or fatigue being the most common precipitating factors for relapse or initial onset of the disease.

At the first onset of NMOSD, 43 patients had optica neuritis and 29 had transverse myelitis. AQP4-IgG was present in 78.4% of the patients enrolled in the study. The majority of patients were female with no major difference (P =.529) in ratios between patients who were positive or negative for anti-SSA/Ro, and the age at onset of NMOSD was also not significantly different between the 2 groups (P =.587).


Lin L, Hang H, Zhang J, Lu J, Chen D, Shi J. Clinical significance of anti-SSA/Ro antibody in neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders. Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2022;58:103494. doi:10.1016/j.msard.2022.103494