We examined the proliferative response of blood CD4+ cells to muscle acetylcholine receptor (AChR) subunits and the epitope repertoire of the ε and γ subunits, in ocular myasthenia gravis (oMG) patients and healthy subjects. oMG patients seldom recognized all subunits. The frequency and intensity of recognition was the same for all subunits, irrespective of the disease duration. The responses in oMG were lower than in generalized myasthenia gravis. Healthy subjects had frequent, low responses to one or more subunits. oMG patients recognized several epitopes on the γ and ε subunits, that partially overlapped those recognized in gMG. The subunits and epitopes recognized by individual oMG patients changed over time. Thus, oMG patients have minimal and unstable sensitization of anti-AChR CD4+ cells, in agreement with their low and inconsistent synthesis of anti-AChR antibody. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Supported by the NINCDS Grant NS23919 and by a Research Grant from the Muscular Dystrophy Association (to B.M. Conti-Fine). Dr Wang was a recipient of a Neuromuscular Disease Research Fellowship from the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
- Acetylcholine receptor
- Ocular myasthenia gravis
- T cell recognition