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J Neuroimmunol. 2000 Aug 1;108(1-2):29-39.

T cell recognition of muscle acetylcholine receptor in ocular myasthenia gravis.

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Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus, Minnesota MN 55108, USA.


We examined the proliferative response of blood CD4(+) cells to muscle acetylcholine receptor (AChR) subunits and the epitope repertoire of the epsilon and gamma subunits, in ocular myasthenia gravis (oMG) patients and healthy subjects. oMG patients seldom recognized all subunits. The frequency and intensity of recognition was the same for all subunits, irrespective of the disease duration. The responses in oMG were lower than in generalized myasthenia gravis. Healthy subjects had frequent, low responses to one or more subunits. oMG patients recognized several epitopes on the gamma and epsilon subunits, that partially overlapped those recognized in gMG. The subunits and epitopes recognized by individual oMG patients changed over time. Thus, oMG patients have minimal and unstable sensitization of anti-AChR CD4(+) cells, in agreement with their low and inconsistent synthesis of anti-AChR antibody.

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