Virchows Archiv B

, 54:295 | Cite as

Microenvironment of thymic myoid cells in myasthenia gravis

  • Thomas Kirchner
  • Florian Hoppe
  • Berthold Schalke
  • Hans Konrad Müller-Hermelink


The microenvironment of myoid cells (MyCs) was studied in myasthenia gravis (MG) thymitis with lymphoid follicular hyperplasia (LFH) (nine cases) and with diffuse B cell infiltration (one case), and compared with findings in the thymuses of non-myasthenic control subjects (ten cases). Double immunostaining was used to demonstrate MyCs labelled by anti-desmin together with other thymic components such as keratin-positive epithelial cells, Ki-M 1-positive interdigitating reticulum cells (IDCs), Ki-M 4-positive follicular dendritic reticulum cells, Ki-M 6-positive macrophages, CD22-positive B-cells, CD1-positive cells, CD3-positive T-cells or HLA-DR-positive cells. Round or elongated MyCs were confined to the thymic medulla and were surrounded by CD3-positive T-cells and CD22-positive B-cells. In MG thymitis MyCs were localized in the vicinity of, but not inside germinal centres (GCs). MyCs were always HLA-DR-negative, but were invariably embedded in a cellular micromilieu with strong HLA-DR expression. A remarkable feature of MG thymitis was that the great majority of MyCs were in intimate contact with intramedullary IDCs. Morphometric studies confirmed that such contacts were significantly less frequent in thymuses from non-myasthenic subjects. This indicates that an IDC-dependent antigen-presenting process for T-cells may actively involve MyCs in MG thymitis.

Key words

Thymus Myoid cells Myasthenia gravis 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Kirchner
    • 1
  • Florian Hoppe
    • 1
  • Berthold Schalke
    • 2
  • Hans Konrad Müller-Hermelink
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of PathologyUniversity of WürzburgWürzburg
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyUniversity of WürzburgWürzburgFederal Republic of Germany

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