Muscle-Specific Kinase Myasthenia Gravis

Lucia S. Borges, David P. Richman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Thirty to fifty percent of patients with acetylcholine receptor (AChR) antibody (Ab)-negative myasthenia gravis (MG) have Abs to muscle specific kinase (MuSK) and are referred to as having MuSK-MG. MuSK is a 100 kD single-pass post-synaptic transmembrane receptor tyrosine kinase crucial to the development and maintenance of the neuromuscular junction. The Abs in MuSK-MG are predominantly of the IgG4 immunoglobulin subclass. MuSK-MG differs from AChR-MG, in exhibiting more focal muscle involvement, including neck, shoulder, facial and bulbar-innervated muscles, as well as wasting of the involved muscles. MuSK-MG is highly associated with the HLA DR14-DQ5 haplotype and occurs predominantly in females with onset in the fourth decade of life. Some of the standard treatments of AChR-MG have been found to have limited effectiveness in MuSK-MG, including thymectomy and cholinesterase inhibitors. Therefore, current treatment involves immunosuppression, primarily by corticosteroids. In addition, patients respond especially well to B cell depletion agents, e.g., rituximab, with long-term remissions. Future treatments will likely derive from the ongoing analysis of the pathogenic mechanisms underlying this disease, including histologic and physiologic studies of the neuromuscular junction in patients as well as information derived from the development and study of animal models of the disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number707
JournalFrontiers in immunology
Volume11
DOIs
StatePublished - May 8 2020

Keywords

  • animal models
  • muscle specific kinase
  • myasthenia gravis
  • neuromuscular junction
  • pathogenesis
  • review
  • treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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