Image_1_Case Report: Interferon-Alpha-Induced Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder.TIF (1.89 MB)
Download file

Image_1_Case Report: Interferon-Alpha-Induced Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder.TIF

Download (1.89 MB)
posted on 25.04.2022, 05:01 authored by Jie Rao, Na Xu, Jing Sun, Yan Li, Fangwang Fu
Background and Objectives

To describe a new case of neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) induced by the administration of interferon-alpha (IFNα) and to raise awareness of this rare drug-induced disease of IFNα treatment.


A single case study and comprehensive literature review of eight cases.


A 24-year-old man was diagnosed with cerebral venous thrombosis and essential thrombocythemia. He had been undergoing IFNα treatment (IFNα-2b, 3 million IU per day) without any side effects for 18 months, at which point the patient developed persistent hiccups, nausea, urinary retention, and numbness. Spinal magnetic resonance imaging revealed a longitudinal abnormality extending from the medulla to the entire spinal cord. The patient was positive for anti-aquaporin-4 antibody (AQP4-IgG) in both the serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which confirmed the diagnosis of NMOSD. Thus, recombinant IFNα-2b was suspended immediately. Because his condition did not improve after 6-day treatment of methylprednisolone pulse therapy (1,000 mg for 3 days, then 500 mg for 3 days), intravenous immunoglobulin (0.4 g/kg/day for 5 days) was administered. The patient gradually improved. Low-dose prednisolone and mycophenolate mofetil were subsequently administered as a long-term treatment. The patient was discharged with subtle limb numbness and their expanded disability status score (EDSS) was 1. At the 1-year follow-up, the patient had not relapsed and tested negative for AQP4-IgG. We further identified the eight patients with IFNα-induced NMOSD. The median onset age was 59 years, and the median time of IFNα exposure was 18 months. Optic neuritis was the most common initial symptom (five, 55.6%), followed by myelitis in three patients and area postrema syndrome in one patient. More than half (five, 55.6%) of the patients were monophasic. After IFNα discontinuation and immunotherapy, most (seven, 77.8%) patients remained relapse-free. However, only one patient was free of sequelae.


This study highlights the potential pathogenic risk of NMOSD of IFNα treatment. Given the high disability rates of this rare drug-induced disease, it is crucial to monitor the early manifestations of NMOSD during IFNα treatment.