Reactivity of T cells from seronegative patients with myasthenia gravis to T cell epitopes of the human acetylcholine receptor

Arnon Karni, E. Zisman, Y. Katz-Levy, M. Paas-Rozner, M. Dayan, C. Brautbar, O. Abramsky, M. Sela, E. Mozes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Seronegative (SN) patients with myasthenia gravis (MG) have clinical and electrophysiologic features similar to those of seropositive (SP) patients, and they respond to the same therapeutic measures. However, because SN patients lack detectable (by standard radioimmunoassays) serum antibodies to acetylcholine receptor (AChR) which are considered to have a crucial role in MG, the pathophysiologic basis for the disease is not clear. We therefore compared the ability of peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) of SN patients (11) and SP patients (39) to respond to myasthenogenic T cell epitopes of human AChR. We tested two aspects that relate to T-cell immunity: 1) T cell responses to myasthenogenic peptides by proliferation and IL-2 production, and 2) the ability of antigen-presenting cells to bind these T-cell epitopes. T cells of SN patients did not differ from those of SP patients in their ability to respond and to bind the two human AChR-derived myasthenogenic peptides. This supports the belief that most SN patients indeed suffer from an autoimmune disease directed against the AChR. The presence of T-cell immunity in the absence of antibodies may emphasize the importance of AChR- specific T cells in MG.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1638-1642
Number of pages5
JournalNeurology
Volume48
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1997
Externally publishedYes

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