Thymulin and zinc are involved in different age-related pathogenetic immunological mechanisms in Myasthenia Gravis

Eugenio Mocchegiani, Robertina Giacconi, Catia Cipriano, Mario Muzzioli, Federico Licastro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and purpose: The thymus has a role in pathogenetic mechanisms for Myasthenia Gravis (MG) because of anti-acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) antibody production of skeletal muscle in thymic myoid cells. Thymectomy improves clinical status in younger MG patients but less in older MG patients suggesting a possible age-related different pathogenetic immunolgical mechanisms in MG invoiving thymulin (zinc-dependent thymic hormone) and zinc, which is pivotal for immune efficiency In order to confirm this suggestion, MG patients were divided in two groups: younger (mean age 33 yrs) and older (mean age 67 yrs) because zinc and thymulin show an age-related decline and autoimmune phenomena are usual events in aging due to altered thymic functions. Patients and methods: We tested before and after thymectomy (1 month) plasma thymulin, zincaemia and autoreactive positive T-cells (CD3DR). Results and conclusions. Before thymectomy zincaemia, thymulin and CD3DR are increased both in younger and older MG patients move marked in this latter group. Thymectomy restores zincaemia and immune parameters considered in younger MG patients with a maintenance alter 1 month from thymectomy. It doesn't occur in older thymectomized MG patients showing same zincaemia and immune alterations observed before thymectomy. These findings further confirm the possible existence of different age-related pathogenetic immunological mechanisms in MG, where thymulin and zinc may play a key role.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-467
Number of pages5
JournalPeriodicum Biologorum
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1998


  • CD3DR
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Thymulin
  • Zinc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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