To investigate which parts of the acetylcholine receptor are involved in the initiation and development of myasthenia gravis (MG), peptides representing different sequences of the human acetylcholine receptor alpha-subunit were synthesized. These peptides were tested for their ability to stimulate T cells of myasthenic patients and healthy control patients in proliferation assays and to bind to sera antibodies. Three of eight peptides discriminated significantly between the two groups in the proliferation assay, as well as in their ability to bind to serum antibodies. HLA-DR3 and DR5 were associated with proliferative responses to specific AChR peptides in the group of myasthenics. Acetylcholine receptor epitopes that might play a specific role in myasthenia gravis thus were demonstrated.


S Brocke, C Brautbar, L Steinman, O Abramsky, J Rothbard, D Neumann, S Fuchs, E Mozes


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