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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 11, Issue 3-4, Pages 215-220
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17402520400001769

The Intrathymic Pathogenesis of Myasthenia Gravis

1Allergy and Immunology Section, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, RoomBRB II/III, Philadelphia, PA, USA
2Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, RoomBRB II/III, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Copyright © 2004 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. 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.

Abstract

The thymus is considered to play an important role in the pathogenesis of Myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune disease characterized by antibody-mediated skeletal muscle weakness. However, its role is yet to be defined. The studies described herein summarize our efforts to determine how intrathymic expression of the neuromuscular type of acetylcholine (ACh) receptors is involved in the immunopathogenesis of this autoimmune disease. We review the work characterizing the expression of neuromuscular ACh receptors in the thymus and advance a new hypothesis that examines the intrathymic expression of this autoantigen in disease pathogenesis.