In order to clarify the characteristic features of myelitis with atopic dermatitis (AD), we compared the clinical, immunological and MRI findings between 14 myelitic patients with AD and 12 myelitic patients without AD. The myelitic patients with AD showed the following distinct features, compared with those without AD. (1) A preferential involvement of the cervical cord, as shown by neurologic as well as MRI examinations (14/14 vs. 5/12; P=0.0012), (2) paresthesia/dysesthesia as the predominant symptoms and a rare occurrence of definite muscle weakness (0/14 vs. 5/12; P=0.0120) and dysuria (1/14 vs. 8/12; P=0.0029), (3) a lower Expanded Disability Status Scale score (mean, 1.5 vs. 3.5; P=0.0018), (4) normal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) findings including those for the IgG index and oligoclonal IgG bands and (5) a persistence of neurologic symptoms and MRI lesions during the follow-up periods (mean, 17 months). In addition, both the serum total IgE level and the frequency of specific IgE to Dermatophagoides farinae were significantly higher in the myelitic patients with AD (median IGE=1266 U/ml, specific IgE 14/14) than in those without AD (145 U/ml, P=0.0034 and 8/12, P=0.0331, respectively) and in 40 healthy controls (86 U/ml, P<0.0001 and 12/40, P<0.0001, respectively). Since myelitis with AD has distinct features and atopy to mite antigens appears to be the underlying cause of this condition, it may therefore be a distinct subtype of myelitis.
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