Neurological Sciences

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 29–34 | Cite as

Serum IL-21 levels decrease with glucocorticoid treatment in myasthenia gravis

  • Y. Li
  • V. K. Rauniyar
  • W. F. Yin
  • B. Hu
  • S. Ouyang
  • B. Xiao
  • H. Yang
Original Article


This study aimed to observe the changes of IL-21/21R in peripheral blood of myasthenia gravis (MG) patients with glucocorticoid treatment and further clarify its role in pathogenesis of MG. 20 MG patients and 15 healthy controls were enrolled in this prospective study. Measurement of serum IL-21 concentration in healthy controls and MG patients before and after glucocorticoid treatment was done using ELISA, whereas expression of IL-21R mRNA was determined by RT-PCR. In addition, serum levels of specific anti-AChR-IgG and its subclasses IgG1, IgG2, IgG3 were also determined by ELISA as follows: (1) serum IL-21 concentration in MG patients was higher before treatment 86.94 ± 14.47 (pg/ml) and decreased significantly after glucocorticoid treatment 35.84 ± 16.13 (pg/ml) (p < 0.05), (2) relative OD values of IL-21R mRNA expressed in PBMCs of MG patients was higher 0.137 ± 0.023 and significantly decreased after glucocorticoid treatment 0.114 ± 0.023 (p < 0.05), while it was 0.107 ± 0.025 in control group, (3) serum concentration of IL-21 showed positive correlation with specific serum anti-AchR-IgG1 levels. The results indicate that the serum IL-21 decreases with glucocorticoid treatment and might be crucial in pathogenesis of mechanism of glucocorticoid treatment on MG patients.


Myasthenia gravis Interleukin-21 Glucocorticoid treatment Anti-AchR antibody 



This work was supported by the National Nature Science Foundation of China (No. 81070962), MDA, and innovation project for postgraduate of central south university (No. 2010ssxt058).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Y. Li
    • 1
  • V. K. Rauniyar
    • 1
    • 2
  • W. F. Yin
    • 1
  • B. Hu
    • 1
  • S. Ouyang
    • 1
    • 3
  • B. Xiao
    • 1
  • H. Yang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neurology, Xiangya School of Medicine, Xiangya HospitalCentral South UniversityChangshaPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Medicine in Nobel Medical CollegeKathmandu UniversityBiratnagarNepal
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyThe First Hospital in Changsha CityChangshaPeople’s Republic of China

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