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J Neuroimmunol. 1998 Aug 1;88(1-2):192-8.

Genetic association of Ctla-4 to myasthenia gravis with thymoma.

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Immunological Research Unit, Center for Molecular Medicine, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.


Cytotoxic T lymphocyte associated antigen-4 (CTLA-4) plays a pivotal role in downregulating both the cellular and the humoral response by suppressing ongoing responses of activated T cells. Our earlier study showed that genetic variations in interleukin-1 genes confer susceptibility to myasthenia gravis, especially in patients having the lowest risk from major histocompatibility complex genes. Here we describe an association of Ctla-4 gene to the disease with thymoma and a higher prevalence of CTLA-4 gene polymorphism allele 104 in patients positive for IL-1beta TaqI allele 2, an IL-1beta 'high secretor' phenotype. There was no association in patients with hyperplasia and normal thymic histology. These results further advocate that MG is a polygenetic disease and suggest that co-stimulators such as CTLA-4 and CD28 might have an important role in the pathogenesis of the disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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