Thymus cells in myasthenia gravis: a two-colour flow cytometric analysis of lymphocytes in the thymus and thymoma
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- Fujii, Y., Hayakawa, M. & Nakahara, K. J Neurol (1992) 239: 82. doi:10.1007/BF00862978
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The thymus in patients with myasthenia gravis has germinal centres and the thymic lymphocytes spontaneously produce anti-acetylcholine receptor antibody in vitro. This suggests indirectly that the myasthenic thymus contains mature T and B cells that are autoreactive. We report a two colour flow cytometric analysis of the surface antigen phenotype of lymphocytes in the thymus and in thymoma in 24 patients and in 14 normal thymuses. The results show a decline in the proportion of double positive immature thymocytes with age. This process seems to be partially disrupted in patients with myasthenia gravis. In addition titres of anti-acetylcholine receptor antibody were positively correlated with the proportion of mature single positive T cells and non-T DR positive cells.