The α subunit of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (AChR) seems crucial in the pathogenesis of the autoimmune paralysis myasthenia gravis (MG) because it contains both the epitopes that dominate the antibody response against the AChR and those recognized by CD4+ AChR-specific T helper (Th) cells. To define the repertoire of anti-AChR Th cells, we investigated the response of unselected blood CD4+ cells or total lymphocytes, or both, from 22 MG patients to 20-residue overlapping synthetic peptides, screening the complete sequence of human-muscle AChR α subunit. Several epitopes were identified. Only the most severely affected patients recognized α subunit epitopes, and they were mainly young women. Detection of in vitro AChR-specific CD4+ response was facilitated by removal of the CD8+ cells because in two patients a clear response to several α subunit peptide sequences could be detected when CD#x002B;-depleted cells were used, while their total peripheral blood mononuclear cell population did not respond to any α subunit peptide. Although each patient had a unique pattern of peptide recognition, four immunodominant regions recognized by long-term AChR-specific CD4+ T-cell lines, or flanking peptide sequences, were recognized most frequently (residues 48–67, 101–137, 293–337, and 308–437).
|Number of pages||9|
|Publication status||Published - 1992|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Clinical Neurology