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Muscle-selective synaptic disassembly and reorganization in MuSK antibody positive MG mice
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience, Clinical Neurophysiology.
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2011 (English)In: Experimental Neurology, ISSN 0014-4886, E-ISSN 1090-2430, Vol. 230, no 2, 207-217 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

MuSK antibody seropositive (MuSK+) Myasthenia Gravis (MG) patients present a distinct selective fatigue, and sometimes atrophy, of bulbar, facial and neck muscles. Here, we study the mechanism underlying the focal muscle involvement in mice with MuSK+ experimental autoimmune MG (EAMG). 8 week-old female wildtype C57BL6 mice and transgenic mice, which express yellow fluorescence protein (YFP) in their motor neurons, were immunized with the extracellular domain of rat MuSK and compared with control mice. The soleus, EDL, sternomastoid, omohyoid, thoracic paraspinal and masseter muscles were examined for pre- and postsynaptic changes with whole mount immunostaining and confocal microscopy. Neuromuscular junction derangement was quantified and compared between muscles and correlated with transcript levels of MuSK and other postsynaptic genes. Correlating with the EAMG disease grade, the postsynaptic acetylcholine receptor (AChR) clusters were severely fragmented with a subsequent reduction also of the presynaptic nerve terminal area. Among the muscles analyzed, the thoracic paraspinal, sternomastoid and masseter muscles were more affected than the leg muscles. The masseter muscle was the most affected, leading to denervation and atrophy and this severity correlated with the lowest levels of MuSK mRNA. On the contrary, the soleus with high MuSK mRNA levels had less postsynaptic perturbation and more terminal nerve sprouting. We propose that low muscle-intrinsic MuSK levels render some muscles, such as the masseter, more vulnerable to the postsynaptic perturbation of MuSK antibodies with subsequent denervation and atrophy. These findings augment our understanding of the sometimes severe, facio-bulbar phenotype of MuSK+ MG.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 230, no 2, 207-217 p.
Keyword [en]
Myasthenia Gravis, MG, MuSK, Neuromuscular junction, Masseter, Muscle atrophy, Denervation
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-156112DOI: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2011.04.018ISI: 000292058400007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-156112DiVA: diva2:430536
Available from: 2011-07-11 Created: 2011-07-11 Last updated: 2014-09-01Bibliographically approved

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