Brainstem and cerebellar involvement are recognized to occur in myelin-oligodendrocyte-glycoprotein-antibody-associated-disorder (MOGAD) and the clinical syndrome can be severe. However, data on brainstem and cerebellar involvement in MOGAD is limited.
To determine the frequency and characteristics of brainstem/cerebellar involvement in MOGAD versus aquaporin-4-IgG-seropositive-neuromyelitis-spectrum-disorder (AQP4-IgG-NMOSD) and multiple sclerosis (MS).
In this observational study, we retrospectively identified 185 Mayo Clinic MOGAD patients and included those with: 1) characteristic MOGAD phenotype; 2) MOG-IgG seropositivity by live-cell-based-assay; 3) brainstem/cerebellar MRI lesion(s). We compared clinical, MRI and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) characteristics of symptomatic brainstem/cerebellar attacks in MOGAD to AQP4-IgG-NMOSD (n=30) and MS (n=30).
Brainstem/cerebellum involvement occurred in 62/185 (34%) MOGAD patients of which 39/62 (63%) had accompanying brainstem/cerebellum symptoms/signs. Ataxia (45%) and diplopia (26%) were common manifestations. The median age in years (range) in MOGAD of 24 (2–65) was younger than MS at 36 (19–65) and AQP4-IgG-NMOSD at 45 (6–72)(P<.05). Isolated brainstem/cerebellar attacks in MOGAD (9/39[23%]) were less frequent than MS (22/30[73%]; p<0.05) but not significantly different from AQP4-IgG-NMOSD (14/30[47%]; p=0.07). Diffuse middle cerebellar peduncle MRI-lesions favored MOGAD (17/37[46%]) over MS (3/30[10%]; P<0.05) and AQP4-IgG-NMOSD (3/30[10%]; p<0.05), while diffuse medulla, pons or midbrain MRI-lesions occasionally occurred in MOGAD and AQP4-IgG-NMOSD but never in MS. CSF oligoclonal bands were similarly rare in MOGAD (2/30[7%]) and AQP4-IgG-NMOSD (1/22[5%]; p>0.99) but common in MS (17/22[77%]; p<0.05). Expanded-disability-status-scale-score (EDSS) and brainstem/cerebellar functional-system-scores (FSS) at nadir and recovery did not significantly differ between the groups.
Brainstem/cerebellar involvement is common in MOGAD but usually occurs as a component of a multifocal CNS attack rather than in isolation. We identified clinical, CSF, and MRI attributes that can help discriminate MOGAD from AQP4-IgG-NMOSD and MS.