Titin and ryanodine receptor autoantibodies in dogs with thymoma and late-onset myasthenia gravis

G. Diane Shelton, Geir O. Skeie, Philip H Kass, Johan A. Aarli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Similar to human autoimmune myasthenia gravis (MG), canine MG occurs spontaneously and is associated with autoantibodies against the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (AChR). In addition to AChR, human MG patients with thymoma or late-onset MG have antibodies against titin and ryanodine receptor (RyR). The objective of this study was to establish if dogs with confirmed MG (AChR antibody titer >0.6nmol/l) also developed titin and RyR antibodies and identify possible associations with thymoma, late age of onset, or severity of clinical signs. Sera from dogs (n=430) with previously diagnosed autoimmune MG (N=415), other immune-mediated neuromuscular disorders including polymyositis (PM) and masticatory muscle myositis (N=5), and control dogs (N=10) were evaluated for the presence of titin antibodies in ELISA using MGT-30 as antigen, a peptide representing the main immunogenic region (MIR) for human titin antibodies. Titin antibody positive sera were further examined for RyR antibodies in Western blots using a RyR fusion protein (pc2-RyR) as antigen, which covers the MIR for human MG sera. Titin antibodies were found in sera of 80/430 dogs. Thymoma was present in 11/80 and age of onset was after 4 years in 66/80 titin positive dogs. Two of the titin positive dogs had PM. RyR antibodies were found in 13/80 sera (8/13 thymoma, 12/13 age of onset after 4 years, and 1/13 PM). Neither titin nor RyR antibodies were found in sera of healthy control dogs. Acute fulminating MG was described in five dogs with both titin and RyR antibodies. From these studies we conclude that titin and RyR antibodies in canine and human MG have a similar association with thymoma, late-onset MG, and possibly with more severe forms of MG.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-105
Number of pages9
JournalVeterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 10 2001


  • Canine
  • Muscle
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Thymoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Immunology
  • veterinary(all)


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