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Neurology. 1993 Aug;43(8):1581-5.

Titin antibodies in myasthenia gravis: identification of a major immunogenic region of titin.

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European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany.


Approximately 15% of patients with myasthenia gravis (MG) have thymus neoplasia. These MG with thymoma (MGT) patients show autoantibodies to striated muscle as well as autoantibodies to acetylcholine receptor. To characterize these thymoma-associated muscle antigens, we cloned a number of immunopositive cDNAs by immunoscreening muscle cDNA libraries with sera from MGT patients. Analysis of the isolated cDNAs show that all share a common sequence encoding a distinct region of the titin gene. We expressed this main immunogenic region (MIR) of titin in Escherichia coli, and determined autoantibody serum titers directed against the obtained recombinant antigen in a variety of patients. We could detect titin MIR autoantibodies in 97% of sera from MGT patients but not in control sera from healthy blood donors. Therefore, expressed titin from the MIR of the molecule is a sensitive marker antigen for evaluating the presence of thymoma in MG.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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