Myasthenia Gravis


Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disease in which weakness results from an immunological attack against the nerve–muscle junction. It is the most well understood autoimmune disease, and knowledge of its cause and treatment has broad relevance to many diseases of more common occurrence.

Keywords: myasthenia gravis; nicotinic receptor; neuromuscular junction; thymus; autoimmune disease


Drachman DB, Adams RN, Josifek LF and Self SG (1982) Functional activities of autoantibodies to acetylcholine receptors and the clinical severity of myasthenia gravis. New England Journal of Medicine 307: 769–775.

Engel AG (1994) Congenital myasthenic syndromes. Neurologic Clinics 12: 401–437.

Howard FMJ, Lennon VA, Finley J, Matsumoto J and Elveback LR (1987) Clinical correlations of antibodies that bind, block, or modulate human acetylcholine receptors in myasthenia gravis. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 505: 526–538.

Mossman S, Vincent A and Newsom‐Davis J (1986) Myasthenia gravis without acetylcholine‐receptor antibody: a distinct disease entity. Lancet i: 116–119.

Sanders DB, Andrews PI, Howard JF Jr and Massey JM (1997) Seronegative myasthenia gravis. Neurology 48(supplement 5): S40–S51.

Tzartos SJ, Barkas T, Cung MT et al. (1991) The main immunogenic region of the acetylcholine receptor. Structure and role in myasthenia gravis. Autoimmunity 8: 259–270.

Yamamoto T, Vincent A, Ciulla TA et al. (1991) Seronegative myasthenia gravis: a plasma factor inhibiting agonist‐induced acetylcholine receptor function copurifies with IgM. Annals of Neurology 30: 550–557.

Further Reading

Conti‐Fine BM, Protti MP, Belone M and Howard JF (1997) Myasthenia Gravis and its Experimental Model: The Immunobiology of an Autoimmune Disease. Georgetown, Texas: Landes Bioscience.

Dalakas MC (1997) Intravenous immune globulin therapy for neurologic diseases. Annals of Internal Medicine 126: 721–730.

Drachman DB (1994) Medical progress: myasthenia gravis. New England Journal of Medicine 330: 1797–1810.

Lennon VA (1994) Serological diagnosis of myasthenia gravis and the Lambert–Eaton myasthenic syndrome. In: Lisak RP (ed.) Handbook of Myasthenia Gravis and Myasthenic Syndromes, pp. 149–164. New York: Marcel Dekker.

Oosterhuis HJGH (1989) The natural course of myasthenia gravis: a long term follow up study. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry 52: 1121–1127.

Sanders DB (1993) Clinical neurophysiology of disorders of the neuromuscular junction. Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology 10: 167–180.

Sanders DB (ed.) (1994) Myasthenia gravis and myasthenic syndromes. Neurologic Clinics 12: 231–442.

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How to Cite close
Sanders, Donald B(Apr 2001) Myasthenia Gravis. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0000239]