Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Muscle-specific tyrosine kinase (MuSK) is essential for clustering of acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) at embryogenesis and likely also important for maintaining synaptic structure in adult muscle. In 5 to 7% of myasthenia gravis (MG) cases, the patients' blood contains antibodies to MuSK. To investigate the effect of MuSK-MG antibody on synapse regeneration, notexin was used to induce damage to the flexor digitorum brevis muscle. We administered aliquots of MuSK-MG patients' plasma to the flexor digitorum brevis twice daily for a period up to 21 days, and muscles were investigated ex vivo in contraction experiments. AChR levels were measured with (125)I-alpha-bungarotoxin, and endplates were studied with quantitative immunohistochemistry. In normal muscles and in 14-day regenerated muscles, MuSK plasma caused impairment of nerve stimulus-induced contraction in the presence of 0.35 and 0.5 mmol/L Ca(2+) with or without 100 to 400 nmol/L tubocurarine. Endplate size was decreased in regenerated muscles relative to controls; however, we did not observe such differences in muscle not treated with notexin. MuSK plasma had no effect on the amount and turnover rate of AChRs. Our results suggest that anti-MuSK antibodies influence the activity of MuSK molecules without reducing their number, thereby diminishing the size of the endplate and affecting the functioning of AChRs.

Original publication

DOI

10.2353/ajpath.2009.090040

Type

Journal article

Journal

Am J Pathol

Publication Date

10/2009

Volume

175

Pages

1536 - 1544

Keywords

Animals, Calcium, Elapid Venoms, Female, Immunohistochemistry, Mice, Models, Biological, Motor Endplate, Muscle Contraction, Myasthenia Gravis, Neuromuscular Junction, Organ Specificity, Plasma, Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases, Receptors, Cholinergic, Regeneration, Tubocurarine