Myasthenia Gravis

  • Michael Benatar


Myasthenia gravis (MG) is an autoimmune disorder in which antibodies are either directed against the muscle nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) itself or against other postsynaptic targets such as the muscle specific kinase (MuSK) that indirectly reduce nAchR numbers. The disease may be limited to the extra-ocular muscles and eyelids (ocular myasthenia) or may affect limb, bulbar and respiratory muscles (generalized myasthenia). The relative diagnostic utility of electrophysiological tests and the presence of anti-acetylcholine receptor antibodies vary depending on whether the disease is ocular or generalized. MG is the prototype neurological auto-immune disorder in which both antigen and antibody have been identified, removal of antibody has been shown to lead to clinical improvement, and the disease can be recreated in mice following passive transfer of the auto-antibody. Understandably, therefore, immunosuppressive therapy forms the mainstay of disease-modifying treatment, with acetylcholinesterase inhibitors being reserved for symptomatic management.


Plasma Exchange Mycophenolate Mofetil Neuromuscular Disease Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyradiculoneuropathy Extensor Digitorum Communis 
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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc., Totowa, NJ 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Benatar
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyEmory University School of MedicineAtlanta

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