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  • Pathogenic autoantibodies in the lambert-eaton myasthenic syndrome.

    24 October 2018

    Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS) is an autoimmune disorder of neuromuscular transmission in which antibodies are directed against voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs). We studied the action of LEMS immunoglobulin G (IgG) on cloned human VGCCs stably transfected into human embryonic kidney cells (HEK293). All LEMS IgGs tested bound to the surface of the P/Q-type VGCC cell line and caused a significant reduction in whole-cell calcium currents in these cells. By contrast, only 2 out of 6 IgGs bound extracellularly to the N-type VGCC cell line, and none of the LEMS IgGs tested was able to reduce whole-cell calcium currents in these cells. We used this apparent specificity of LEMS IgG for the P/Q-type VGCC to investigate the action of these IgGs on model systems where a number of different VGCC populations exist in equilibrium. LEMS IgG caused a significant downregulation in the omega-agatoxin IVA-sensitive P/Q-type VGCCs of cultured rat cerebellar neurons, but this was accompanied by a concomitant rise in the "resistant" R-type VGCCs. By using the passive transfer model of LEMS, similar results were observed at the mouse neuromuscular junction, where a significant reduction in P/Q-type VGCCs was paralleled by an increase in L- and R-type VGCCs. These results demonstrate an unexpected plasticity in the expression of VGCCs in mammalian neurons and may represent a mechanism by which the pathogenic effects of LEMS IgG are reduced.

  • Antibodies in myasthenia gravis and related disorders.

    24 October 2018

    Acetylcholine receptor (AChR) antibodies are present in around 85% of patients with myasthenia gravis (MG) as measured by the conventional radioimmunoprecipitation assay. Antibodies that block the fetal form of the AChR are occasionally present in mothers who develop MG after pregnancy, especially in those whose babies are born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita. The antibodies cross the placenta and block neuromuscular transmission, leading to joint deformities and often stillbirth. In these mothers, antibodies made in the thymus are mainly specific for fetal AChR and show restricted germline origins, suggesting a highly mutated clonal response; subsequent spread to involve adult AChR could explain development of maternal MG in those cases who first present after pregnancy. In the 15% of "seronegative" MG patients without AChR antibodies (SNMG), there are serum factors that increase AChR phosphorylation and reduce AChR function, probably acting via a different membrane receptor. These factors are not IgG and could be IgM or even non-Ig serum proteins. In a proportion of SNMG patients, however, IgG antibodies to the muscle-specific kinase, MuSK, are present. These antibodies are not found in AChR antibody-positive MG and are predominantly IgG4. MuSK antibody positivity appears to be associated with more severe bulbar disease that can be difficult to treat effectively.

  • Glycine receptor antibodies are detected in progressive encephalomyelitis with rigidity and myoclonus (PERM) but not in saccadic oscillations.

    24 October 2018

    Glycine receptor (GlyR) antibodies were recently identified in a few patients with progressive encephalomyelitis with rigidity and myoclonus (PERM); none of these patients had antibodies against glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD). An inhibitory glycinergic transmission defect has also been implicated in the mechanism underlying saccadic oscillations, including ocular flutter or opsoclonus; GlyR antibodies have not been reported in these patients. The purpose was to determine whether GlyR antibodies are found in patients with PERM, ocular flutter syndrome (OFS), and opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome (OMS). GlyR antibodies were first measured in archived sera and CSF from five patients, including one patient with GAD antibody-positive PERM, two patients with OFS, and two patients with OMS. GlyR antibodies were also measured in archived sera from nine other adult patients with OMS. GlyR antibodies and GAD antibodies were both found at high titers in the serum and CSF of the patient with PERM, and their levels paralleled disease activity over time. GlyR antibodies were not found at significant levels in 13 patients with saccadic oscillations. GlyR and GAD antibodies can co-exist in PERM and follow the clinical course. Although saccadic oscillations are a feature of this condition, GlyR antibodies are not commonly found in patients with isolated saccadic oscillations.

  • Voltage-gated potassium channel (K<inf>v</inf>1) autoantibodies in patients with chagasic gut dysmotility and distribution of K<inf>v</inf>1 channels in human enteric neuromusculature (autoantibodies in GI dysmotility)

    24 October 2018

    Background Autoantibodies directed against specific neuronal antigens are found in a significant number of patients with gastrointestinal neuromuscular diseases (GINMDs) secondary to neoplasia. This study examined the presence of antineuronal antibodies in idiopathic GINMD and GINMD secondary to South American Trypanosomiasis. The GI distribution of voltage-gated potassium channels (VGKCs) was also investigated. Methods Seventy-three patients were included in the study with diagnoses of primary achalasia, enteric dysmotility, chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction, esophageal or colonic dysmotility secondary to Chagas' disease. Sera were screened for specific antibodies to glutamic acid decarboxylase, voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs; P/Q subtype), nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs; α3 subtype), and voltage-gated potassium channels (VGKCs, KV1 subtype) using validated immunoprecipitation assays. The distribution of six VGKC subunits (KV1.1-1.6), including those known to be antigenic targets of anti-VGKC antibodies was immunohistochemically investigated in all main human GI tract regions. Key Results Three patients (14%) with chagasic GI dysmotility were found to have positive anti-VGKC antibody titers. No antibodies were detected in patients with idiopathic GINMD. The VGKCs were found in enteric neurons at every level of the gut in unique yet overlapping distributions. The VGKC expression in GI smooth muscle was found to be limited to the esophagus. Conclusions & Inferences A small proportion of patients with GI dysfunction secondary to Chagas' disease have antibodies against VGKCs. The presence of these channels in the human enteric nervous system may have pathological relevance to the growing number of GINMDs with which anti-VGKC antibodies have been associated. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  • Voltage-gated potassium channel (K(v) 1) autoantibodies in patients with chagasic gut dysmotility and distribution of K(v) 1 channels in human enteric neuromusculature (autoantibodies in GI dysmotility).

    24 October 2018

    BACKGROUND: Autoantibodies directed against specific neuronal antigens are found in a significant number of patients with gastrointestinal neuromuscular diseases (GINMDs) secondary to neoplasia. This study examined the presence of antineuronal antibodies in idiopathic GINMD and GINMD secondary to South American Trypanosomiasis. The GI distribution of voltage-gated potassium channels (VGKCs) was also investigated. METHODS: Seventy-three patients were included in the study with diagnoses of primary achalasia, enteric dysmotility, chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction, esophageal or colonic dysmotility secondary to Chagas' disease. Sera were screened for specific antibodies to glutamic acid decarboxylase, voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs; P/Q subtype), nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs; α3 subtype), and voltage-gated potassium channels (VGKCs, K(V) 1 subtype) using validated immunoprecipitation assays. The distribution of six VGKC subunits (K(V) 1.1-1.6), including those known to be antigenic targets of anti-VGKC antibodies was immunohistochemically investigated in all main human GI tract regions. KEY RESULTS: Three patients (14%) with chagasic GI dysmotility were found to have positive anti-VGKC antibody titers. No antibodies were detected in patients with idiopathic GINMD. The VGKCs were found in enteric neurons at every level of the gut in unique yet overlapping distributions. The VGKC expression in GI smooth muscle was found to be limited to the esophagus. CONCLUSIONS & INFERENCES: A small proportion of patients with GI dysfunction secondary to Chagas' disease have antibodies against VGKCs. The presence of these channels in the human enteric nervous system may have pathological relevance to the growing number of GINMDs with which anti-VGKC antibodies have been associated.

  • Morvan syndrome: clinical and serological observations in 29 cases.

    24 October 2018

    OBJECTIVE: A study was undertaken to describe the clinical spectrum, voltage-gated potassium channel (VGKC) complex antibody specificities, and central nervous system localization of antibody binding in 29 patients diagnosed with Morvan syndrome (MoS). METHODS: Clinical data were collected using questionnaires. Radioimmunoassay, cell-based assays, and mouse brain immunohistochemistry were used to characterize the serum antibodies. RESULTS: Neuromyotonia (100%), neuropsychiatric features (insomnia 89.7%, confusion 65.5%, amnesia 55.6%, hallucinations 51.9%), dysautonomia (hyperhidrosis 86.2%, cardiovascular 48.3%), and neuropathic pain (62.1%) were the most common manifestations. A total of 93.1% of MoS patients were male. VGKC-complex antibodies were present in 23 of 29 (79%) MoS patients at referral; 24 of 27 available sera had CASPR2, LGI1, or both CASPR2 and LGI1 antibodies (3 also with contactin-2 antibodies). CASPR2 antibodies were generally higher titer than LGI1 antibodies. Tumors (41.4%), mainly thymomas, were associated with CASPR2 antibodies and a poor prognosis, whereas LGI1 antibodies were associated with serum hyponatremia. In brain tissue regions including the hypothalamus, raphe, and locus coeruleus, commercial antibodies to LGI1 bound to neuronal cell bodies including the antidiuretic hormone-secreting and orexin-secreting hypothalamic neurons, whereas CASPR2 commercial antibodies bound more often to the neuropil. MoS antibodies bound similarly, but there was evidence of additional antibodies in some sera that were not adsorbed by LGI1- or CASPR2-expressing cells and bound to mouse Caspr2(-/-) tissue. INTERPRETATION: MoS is clinically distinct from other VGKC-complex antibody-associated conditions, and usually is associated with high-titer CASPR2 antibodies, often accompanied by lower-titer LGI1 antibodies. CASPR2 and LGI1 antibodies bind to multiple brain regions, which helps to explain the multifocal clinical features of this disease, but other antibodies are likely to play a role in some patients and need to be characterized in future studies.

  • Anti-glial nuclear antibody: marker of lung cancer-related paraneoplastic neurological syndromes.

    24 October 2018

    We describe a new antibody, called anti-glial nuclear antibody (AGNA), in patients with paraneoplastic neurological syndromes (PNS) and small-cell lung carcinoma (SCLC). AGNA was initially identified in 24 sera of our archives by immunohistochemistry on rat cerebellum. AGNA positive sera showed a characteristic nuclear staining of the Bergmann glia in the Purkinje cell layer. Immunoblots and probing a cerebellar expression library with AGNA sera did not identify the antigen. Twenty of the 24 patients with AGNA had PNS and all but two had lung cancer. AGNA was identified in 13/113 (11.5%) patients with SCLC compared with 0/122 with other types of cancer (p<0.0001). The frequency of AGNA was not higher than expected for the presence of SCLC in the different PNS subtypes except in LEMS (p=0.0002). AGNA was present in 13/30 (43%) of LEMS patients with SCLC, compared with 0/19 of LEMS patients without cancer (p=0.0006). We conclude that the recognition of AGNA is helpful since this antibody is found in PNS associated with SCLC, particularly LEMS, in which other onconeural antibodies are absent.

  • Calcium channel subtypes contributing to acetylcholine release from normal, 4-aminopyridine-treated and myasthenic syndrome auto-antibodies-affected neuromuscular junctions.

    24 October 2018

    1 Acetylcholine release at the neuromuscular junction relies on rapid, local and transient calcium increase at presynaptic active zones, triggered by the ion influx through voltage-dependent calcium channels (VDCCs) clustered on the presynaptic membrane. Pharmacological investigation of the role of different VDCC subtypes (L-, N-, P/Q- and R-type) in spontaneous and evoked acetylcholine (ACh) release was carried out in adult mouse neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) under normal and pathological conditions. 2 omega-Agatoxin IVA (500 nM), a specific P/Q-type VDCC blocker, abolished end plate potentials (EPPs) in normal NMJs. However, when neurotransmitter release was potentiated by the presence of the K(+) channel blocker 4-aminopyridine (4-AP), an omega-agatoxin IVA- and omega-conotoxin MVIIC-resistant component was detected. This resistant component was only partially sensitive to 1 micro M omega-conotoxin GVIA (N-type VDCC blocker), but insensitive to any other known VDCC blockers. Spontaneous release was dependent only on P/Q-type VDCC in normal NMJs. However, in the presence of 4-AP, it relied on L-type VDCCs too. 3 ACh release from normal NMJs was compared with that of NMJs of mice passively injected with IgGs obtained from patients with Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS), a disorder characterized by a compromised neurotransmitter release. Differently from normal NMJs, in LEMS IgGs-treated NMJs an omega-agatoxin IVA-resistant EPP component was detected, which was only partially blocked by calciseptine (1 micro M), a specific L-type VDCC blocker. 4 Altogether, these data demonstrate that multiple VDCC subtypes are present at the mouse NMJ and that a resistant component can be identified under 'pharmacological' and/or 'pathological' conditions.