Neuromyelitis Optica Research Lab

  • Neuromyelitis optica (NMO), also known as Devic's disease, is a neuroinflammatory disorder of the optic nerves and spinal cord. Our lab is focused on understanding the pathogenesis of NMO using animal models and cell culture techniques. Recent studies have found an antibody in NMO patients, the NMO-IgG disease, that binds aquaporin-4 (AQP4) found on astrocytes and other cell types.We are trying to understand the relationship of the NMO-IgG to the pathogenesis of NMO. We are also focused on understanding why NMO preferentially attacks the optic nerves and spinal cord. Toward this goal, we found that AQP4 isoforms are differentially expressed on astrocytes in these tissues compared to other tissues in the nervous system (see publications). Aquaporin-4 isoform expression may be critically important in predisposition to disease in NMO.

    Research Areas: neurofibromatosis

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    Principal Investigator

    Michael Levy, M.D., Ph.D.