What causes NMO?

NMO is an autoimmune condition, which means a persons immune system (the bodys natural defence against illness and infection) reacts abnormally and attacks the body's tissues and organs.

An antibody against a protein called aquaporin-4 is present in the blood of up to 80% of people with NMO.

Antibodies are proteins produced by the body to destroy disease-carrying organisms and toxins.

In NMO, the immune system attacks aquaporin-4 which damages the myelin sheath(the protective layer that surrounds nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord and helps transmit nerve signals).

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018