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Titin Epitope in Thymoma

  • A. Wilisch
  • A. Schultz
  • A. Jung
  • T. Kirchner
  • B. Schalke
  • K. V. Toyka
  • V. Pallini
  • S. Tzartos
  • H. K. Müller-Hermelink
  • A. Marx

Abstract

Autoantibodies against striated muscle proteins (particularly against titin), neuronal structures and the acetylcholine receptor are a hallmark of paraneoplastic Myasthenia gravis (MG). The stimulus for this autoimmunity remains enigmatic, because complete titin or nicotinic acetylcholine receptors are not found in these tumors. This study reports, that a monoclonal antibody (mAb 155) directed against the “Very Immunogenic Cytoplasmic Region” (VICE-α) of the acetylcholine receptor (α373 – 380) crossreacts with a 153 kD molecule only in cortical type thymomas. We could show by immunostaining and west-ernblotting that this molecule might be the medium molecular weight neurofilament NF-M. Since NF-M and titin share a common epitope, we observed that a crossreactive anti-titin antibody showed a similar staining pattern in cortical type thymomas as antibodies against NF-M and mAb 155. We suggest that one molecule, NF-M, which does contain titin and AChR epitopes and which is expressed in an inappropriate cortical environment in thymoma, might autosensitize maturing T-cells and initiate autoimmunity in patients with paraneoplastic MG against the three main autoantigen targets: AChR, titin and neuronal structures.

Keywords

Acetylcholine Receptor Thymic Carcinoma Striate Muscle Protein Myoid Cell Thymic Epithelial Tumor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Wilisch
    • 1
  • A. Schultz
    • 1
  • A. Jung
    • 2
  • T. Kirchner
    • 2
  • B. Schalke
    • 3
  • K. V. Toyka
    • 3
  • V. Pallini
    • 4
  • S. Tzartos
    • 5
  • H. K. Müller-Hermelink
    • 1
  • A. Marx
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of PathologyUniversity of WürzburgGermany
  2. 2.Institute of PathologyUniversity of ErlangenGermany
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyUniversity of WürzburgGermany
  4. 4.Department of Molecular BiologyUniversity of SienaItaly
  5. 5.Helenic Pasteur InstituteAthensGreece

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