Autoantibodies in neuromuscular autoimmune disorders.
Lang B., Willcox N.
Partly because they are vital but vulnerable, neuromuscular receptors/ion channels are frequently the focus of attack in autoimmune diseases. With such well defined targets and patient subgroups, and with such clear antibody-mediated pathogeneses, these diseases offer excellent scope for highly specific diagnostic tests, which already help to point patients towards optimal treatments. This review focuses on the autoantibodies and their detection, and briefly considers prospects for novel therapeutic approaches. These disorders have also proved fertile ground for detailed studies on pathogenic mechanisms. Moreover, it is hoped that the distinct patient subgroups and the characteristic tumor associations therein will hold valuable clues to pathways of autoimmunization.