Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.
  • Clinical and serological study of myasthenia gravis in HuBei Province, China.

    24 October 2018

    BACKGROUND: Ocular and childhood myasthenia gravis (MG) cases seem relatively more common in Oriental than in Caucasian populations, but there have been no comprehensive serological studies on patients from mainland China. METHODS: 391 unselected patients with MG attending Tongji Hospital in WuHan (the largest hospital in the province of HuBei, China) were studied during a 15-month period; most had already received treatment for their condition. RESULTS: The male to female ratio was 0.8. 50% of the patients were children (<15 years), and age at onset showed a single peak at between 5 and 10 years of age. 64% of the children and 66% of the adults were positive for acetylcholine receptor (AChR) antibodies but the antibody titres were lower than in similar Caucasian studies, although this was partly due to the high incidence of ocular MG. Of the 43 patients with generalised MG without AChR antibodies, only 1 had muscle-specific kinase antibodies (2.5%) and 2 had voltage-gated calcium channel antibodies indicating probable Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome. 75% of the children, compared with only 28% of the adults, had ocular MG. Thymoma was evident by MRI in 1.5% of children and in 20% of adults. Despite most patients having received prednisone, very few had obtained full clinical remission. CONCLUSION: This study emphasises the frequency of early childhood onset with ocular symptoms and shows that many of these patients have AChR antibodies. By contrast, patients presenting in later age seem to be very uncommon in comparison with recent studies in Caucasian populations.

  • IgG subclass distribution of autoantibodies in pediatric opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome.

    24 October 2018

    Opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome (OMS) in children is a rare disorder including a severe eye movement disturbance, myoclonia, ataxia and often developmental retardation. Both OMS forms, idiopathic or neuroblastoma-associated (paraneoplastic), have been suspected to be autoimmune. Recently, autoantibodies have been found in OMS sera. We here show that autoantibodies in OMS, both intracellular and surface binding, belong mainly to the IgG3 subclass, although the total serum IgG3 level is normal. These results support the autoimmune hypothesis and point to a protein autoantigen as antigenic target.

  • IgG from "seronegative" myasthenia gravis patients binds to a muscle cell line, TE671, but not to human acetylcholine receptor.

    24 October 2018

    Antibodies to acetylcholine receptor (AChR) are found in 85% of patients with myasthenia gravis (seropositive MG [SPMG]) and are thought to be pathogenic; but in 15% of MG patients, the standard immunoprecipitation test for anti-AChR is negative (seronegative MG [SNMG]). Here, we used a novel approach, fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis, to measure binding of SPMG and SNMG IgG antibodies to rhabdomyosarcoma cell lines that express human adult (TE671-epsilon) or fetal (TE671-gamma) AChR, and to human embryonic kidney (HEK) fibroblasts that express adult human AChR (HEK-AChR). We found that whereas most SPMG antibodies bind to all three cell lines, IgG from 8 of 15 SNMG sera/plasmas bind to the surface of both TE671 cell lines but not to HEK-AChR cells. These results indicate that SNMG antibodies bind to a muscle surface antigen that is not the AChR, which strongly supports previous studies that suggest that SNMG should be considered a distinct subtype of MG.

  • Sequential fluctuating paraneoplastic ocular flutter-opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome and Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome in small-cell lung cancer.

    24 October 2018

    Paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration may occur in association with Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS), but to our knowledge, the co-occurrence of paraneoplastic opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome and LEMS has not been previously reported. A 67-year-old woman presented with a complex partial seizure and evolving ocular flutter, opsoclonus, myoclonus and 'cerebellar' signs, all of which improved spontaneously within 6 weeks. Approximately 8 weeks after symptom onset, the patient became encephalopathic, she had a further complex partial seizure, and she became areflexic with potentiation of deep tendon reflexes. Radiological, bronchoscopic and histological investigations revealed small-cell lung cancer, and neurophysiological investigations confirmed a diagnosis of LEMS. High-titre anti-P/Q-type voltage-gated calcium-channel antibodies were identified in the serum, which increased as the signs of opsoclonus and myoclonus resolved. The encephalopathy and clinical features of LEMS responded dramatically to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Spontaneous improvement of paraneoplastic opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome may occur, and this syndrome may occur in association with LEMS. Antivoltage-gated calcium-channel antibodies are not implicated in the pathogenesis of paraneoplastic opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome.

  • A prospective study of the presentation and management of dancing eye syndrome/opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome in the United Kingdom.

    24 October 2018

    The incidence, mode of presentation and management of Dancing Eye Syndrome/Opsoclonus-Myoclonus Syndrome (DES/OMS) was prospectively evaluated in 20 United Kingdom (UK) paediatric neurology centres by questionnaire over a 24-month period between 2003 and 2005. Nineteen children were notified, giving an incidence of 0.18 cases per million total population per year. Mean age at presentation was 18 months (range 3-42 months). Fifteen families consented to participate in the study. Atypical features were present in 6/15 cases including very delayed presentation of opsoclonus, dysphagia, and rapid spontaneous improvement without treatment. Only 4/15 cases were associated with neuroblastoma (NB) but current practice in excluding this is diverse and a standardised approach is suggested.

  • Autoantibodies in neuromuscular autoimmune disorders.

    24 October 2018

    Partly because they are vital but vulnerable, neuromuscular receptors/ion channels are frequently the focus of attack in autoimmune diseases. With such well defined targets and patient subgroups, and with such clear antibody-mediated pathogeneses, these diseases offer excellent scope for highly specific diagnostic tests, which already help to point patients towards optimal treatments. This review focuses on the autoantibodies and their detection, and briefly considers prospects for novel therapeutic approaches. These disorders have also proved fertile ground for detailed studies on pathogenic mechanisms. Moreover, it is hoped that the distinct patient subgroups and the characteristic tumor associations therein will hold valuable clues to pathways of autoimmunization.

  • Potassium channel antibody-associated encephalopathy: A potentially immunotherapy-responsive form of limbic encephalitis

    24 October 2018

    Patients presenting with subacute amnesia are frequently seen in acute neurological practice. Amongst the differential diagnoses, herpes simplex encephalitis, Korsakoff's syndrome and limbic encephalitis should be considered. Limbic encephalitis is typically a paraneoplastic syndrome with a poor prognosis; thus, identifying those patients with potentially reversible symptoms is important. Voltage-gated potassium channel antibodies (VGKC-Ab) have recently been reported in three cases of reversible limbic encephalitis. Here we review the clinical, immunological and neuropsychological features of 10 patients (nine male, one female; age range 44-79 years), eight of whom were identified in two centres over a period of 15 months. The patients presented with 1-52 week histories of memory loss, confusion and seizures. Low plasma sodium concentrations, initially resistant to treatment, were present in eight out of 10. Brain MRI at onset showed signal change in the medial temporal lobes in eight out of 10 cases. Paraneoplastic antibodies were negative, but VGKC-Ab ranged from 450 to 5128 pM (neurological and healthy controls <100 pNI). CSF oligoclonal bands were found in only one, but bands matched with those in the serum were found in six other patients. VGKC-Abs in the CSF, tested in five individuals, varied between <1 and 10% of serum values. Only one patient had neuromyotonia, which was excluded by electromyography in seven of the others. Formal neuropsychology testing showed severe and global impairment of memory, with sparing of general intellect in all but two patients, and of nominal functions in all but one. Variable regimes of steroids, plasma exchange and intravenous immunoglobulin were associated with variable falls in serum VGKC-Abs, to values between 2 and 88% of the initial values, together with marked improvement of neuropsychological functioning in six patients, slight improvement in three and none in one. The improvement in neuropsychological functioning in seven patients correlated broadly with the fall in antibodies. However, varying degrees of cerebral atrophy and residual cognitive impairment were common. Over the same period, only one paraneoplastic case of limbic encephalitis was identified between the two main centres. Thus, VGKC-Ab-associated encephalopathy is a relatively common form of autoimmune, non-paraneoplastic, potentially treatable encephalitis that can be diagnosed by a serological test. Establishing the frequency of this new syndrome, the full range of clinical presentations and means of early recognition, and optimal immunotherapy, should now be the aim.