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J Neuroimmunol. 2005 Jan;158(1-2):191-4.

The role of complement in myasthenia gravis: serological evidence of complement consumption in vivo.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen N-5021, Norway. fredrik.romi@haukeland.no



Antibodies to the acetylcholine receptor (AChR) titin and the ryanodine receptor (RyR) occur in myasthenia gravis (MG). These antibodies are capable of complement activation in vitro. The involvement of the complement system should cause consumption of complement components such as C3 and C4 in vivo.


Complement components C3 and C4 were assayed in sera from 78 AChR antibody-positive MG patients and 52 healthy controls. Forty-eight of the patient sera contained titin antibodies as well, and 20 were also RyR antibody-positive.


MG patients with AChR antibody concentrations above the median (11.2 nmol/l) had significantly lower mean C3 and C4 concentrations in serum compared to those with AChR antibody concentrations below the median. Titin antibody-positive MG patients, titin antibody-negative early-onset MG patients, titin antibody-negative late-onset MG patients, and controls had similar C3 and C4 concentrations. Nor did mean C3 and C4 concentrations differ in MG patients with RyR antibodies. Patients with severe MG (grades 4 and 5) had similar C3 and similar C4 levels compared to those with mild MG (grades 1 and 2).


An increased in vivo complement consumption was detected in MG patients with high AChR antibody concentrations, unrelated to MG severity and non-AChR muscle antibodies.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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