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Autoimmune Diseases
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 874680, 10 pages
Review Article

Myasthenia Gravis: A Review

1Department of Neurology, Howard University Hospital, 2041 Georgia Avenue, Washington, DC 20060, USA
2Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Howard University Hospital, 2041 Georgia Avenue, Washington, DC 20060, USA

Received 19 June 2012; Revised 23 August 2012; Accepted 4 September 2012

Academic Editor: Corrado Betterle

Copyright © 2012 Annapurni Jayam Trouth et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Acquired myasthenia gravis is a relatively uncommon disorder, with prevalence rates that have increased to about 20 per 100,000 in the US population. This autoimmune disease is characterized by muscle weakness that fluctuates, worsening with exertion, and improving with rest. In about two-thirds of the patients, the involvement of extrinsic ocular muscle presents as the initial symptom, usually progressing to involve other bulbar muscles and limb musculature, resulting in generalized myasthenia gravis. Although the cause of the disorder is unknown, the role of circulating antibodies directed against the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor in its pathogenesis is well established. As this disorder is highly treatable, prompt recognition is crucial. During the past decade, significant progress has been made in our understanding of the disease, leading to new treatment modalities and a significant reduction in morbidity and mortality.