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J Neuroimmunol. 2013 Nov 15;264(1-2):114-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2013.09.006. Epub 2013 Sep 18.

Disturbed B cell subpopulations and increased plasma cells in myasthenia gravis patients.

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Department of Experimental Neurology, Charité-University Medicine Berlin, Germany; Department of Neurology, Charité-University Medicine Berlin, Germany. Electronic address:


Whether there is a general perturbation of B and plasma cell subsets in myasthenia gravis (MG) has not been investigated so far. Here we performed a detailed flow cytometric analysis of blood and if available thymic tissue in order to detect MG-specific and therapy-induced changes. We observed significant differences in the distribution of B cell subsets in MG patients, yet these were mainly attributable to medical treatment. Furthermore MG is associated with significantly increased frequencies of plasma cells that were especially activated in purely ocular disease manifestation. In contrast to thymoma, B cell subset distribution in hyperplastic thymus could be distinguished from peripheral blood, however both tissues were not significantly enriched with plasma cells. Thus B cell differentiation in general is not defective in MG, but modified by therapy and enhanced frequencies of plasma cells can be detected in MG patients.


Autoimmunity; B cells; Immunology; Myasthenia gravis; Plasma cells

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