The rates of positive antithyroid antibodies (ATAbs) are higher in children with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) compared to healthy controls, a new study published in the journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders found.

Myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) antibody-positive rates were also significantly higher in children with NMOSD who were ATAbs positive. Moreover, MOG antibody-positive was a unique marker of aggravation of neurological dysfunction in children with NMOSD who were ATAbs positive.

Describing the clinical characteristics of patients with NMOSD and ATAbs positive, the researchers reported that gender, Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score, extensive transverse myelitis (LETM), and antinuclear antibody (ANA) and MOG antibody levels were significantly different between patients with NMOSD who were positive or negative for ATAbs. 

Continue Reading

More precisely, most children with NMOSD who were ATAbs positive were female. Their EDSS scores were significantly higher. The rate of LETM and ANA positive in addition to MOG positive was significantly higher among patients with NMOSD who were ATAbs positive. 

Read more about NMOSD diagnosis

There was also a statistically significant difference in the incidence of bulbar area postrema and spinal cord symptoms, as well as fevers of unknown origins of the first onset between patients with NMOSD who were ATAbs positive or negative.

The researchers concluded that monitoring ATAbs and MOG antibodies may play an important role in predicting the prognosis of NMOSD in children affected by the disease.

These findings are based on 108 children with a confirmed NMOSD diagnosis admitted to Shengjing Hospital of China Medical University between January 2015 and September 2020.

One limitation of the study was the small sample size and lack of follow-up research data, the authors concluded. The immunological pathogenesis and long-term effects of MOG antibodies should therefore be confirmed in additional studies. Such studies would help better understand the disease and select the best treatment option for children affected by it.


Huo L, Wang H, Yuan Y, Gao J, Liu X. Positive antithyroid antibody predicts severity of neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder in children. Mult Scler Relat Disord. Published online November 24, 2021. doi:10.1016/j.msard.2021.103425