Myasthenic immunoglobulin accelerates acetylcholine receptor degradation

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  29 Apr 1977:
Vol. 196, Issue 4289, pp. 527-529
DOI: 10.1126/science.850793


Degradation of acetylcholine receptors by cultured rat skeletal muscle cells was determined from the release of 125I from bound 125I-labeled alpha-bungarotoxin. Addition of immunoglobulin from patients with myasthenia gravis to the culture medium accelerated the degradation rate to a mean of 8.51 +/- 0.44 percent per hour, compared with the mean control rate of 3.97 +/- 0.14 percent per hour (P less than .001). A similar mechanism may possibly be involved in the autoimmune pathogenesis of myasthenia gravis in man.