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Factors affecting the susceptibility of different strains of mice to experimental myasthenia gravis.

  • Phil Berman
  • J, Patrick
  • S, Heinemann
  • Fg, Klier
  • Jh, Steinbach
Published Article
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Wiley (Blackwell Publishing)
UCSC Bioinformatics biomedical-ucsc


Mice immunized with purified AChR (T. californica) invariably form anti-AChR antibodies and often develop a condition of extreme muscular weakness and flaccid paralysis. Pharmacological, physiological, and ultrastructural studies indicate that the pathophysiology of EMG in the mouse closely resembles that of human MG. The single episode of muscular weakness typically found in mouse EMG differs from the acute phase of rat EMG in that macrophages and other phagocytes do not appear to play an active role in the destruction of the neuromuscular junction. The frequency of paralysis in mice immunized with AChR is highly strain dependent and is not attributable to polymorphisms with respect to susceptibility to cholinergic blockade. The incidence of paralysis does not correlate with the magnitude of the humoral response to either T. californica or mouse AChR. Because both paralyzed and nonparalyzed mice form antibodies which are able to increase the rate of both junctional and extrajunctional AChR degradation, the mere presence of antibodies reactive with cell surface antigenic determinants of AChR is not sufficient for the induction of paralysis. While it is still possible that antibody-induced degradation of AChR may be necessary for the induction of paralysis, these studies rule out the possibility that antigenic modulation of AChR is sufficient to account for the induction of paralysis in mouse EMG. In the present studies alleles of the two loci were identified which significantly effect the probability with which mice immunized with AChR can be expected to become paralyzed, the MHC and the IgCH region. Because one genotype, H-2b, Ig-1b segregated with high susceptibility to EMG in four strains derived from three dissimilar backgrounds, these studies strongly suggest that susceptibility to the development of paralysis is a heritable trait determined by regions of the mouse genome which regulate immune responsiveness.

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