To determine the potential importance of an immune response directed against the acetylcholine receptor in myasthenia gravis, the authors studied cell mediated immunity to receptor as measured by lymphocyte stimulation in 21 myasthenic patients and 21 controls, including 5 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The mean (±S.E.M.) stimulation index was 5.3±1.3 for patients and 1.2±0.3 for controls (P<0.005). In 14 patients the indexes were greater than 2.0 (9 of 11 males, 5 of 10 females, 10 of 11 elderly patients, and 5 of 6 with thymoma). Stimulation index correlated with disease activity (rs = 0.71, P<0.01). Peripheral blood lymphocytes from 1 of 3 young female myasthenic patients responded to autologous thymocytes but not to receptor; peripheral blood lymphocytes from the other 2 responded to receptor but not to autologous thymocytes. These findings are further evidence that autoimmunity to the acetylcholine receptor plays a central part in myasthenia gravis.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||New England Journal of Medicine|
|State||Published - 1976|
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