Neuromyelitis optica in patients with myasthenia gravis who underwent thymectomy

Ilya Kister, Sandeep Gulati, Cavit Boz, Roberto Bergamaschi, Guiseppe Piccolo, Joel Oger, Michael L. Swerdlow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Background: Myasthenia gravis (MG) and neuromyelitis optica (NMO, also known as Devic disease) are rare autoimmune disorders, with upper-limit prevalence estimates in the general population of 15 per 100 000 and 5 per 100 000, respectively. To our knowledge, an association between these diseases has not been previously reported. Objectives: To describe 4 patients with MG who developed NMO after thymectomy and to analyze possible causes of apparent increased prevalence of NMO among patients with MG. Design: Case series. Patients: Four patients with MG who underwent thymectomy. Interventions: None. Results: The prevalence ofMGwithin the published cohort of patients withNMOis more than 150 times higher than that in the general population. Conclusion: Dysregulation of B-cell autoimmunity in myasthenia, possibly exacerbated by loss of control over autoreactive cells as a result of thymectomy, may predispose patients to the development of NMO.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)851-856
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Neurology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Neurology


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