OBJECTIVE: To determine whether an SRC homology 2 domain-containing phosphotyrosine phosphatase 2 (SHP2) inhibitor would increase muscle-specific kinase (MuSK) phosphorylation and override the inhibitory effect of MuSK-antibodies (Abs). METHODS: The effect of the SHP2 inhibitor NSC-87877 on MuSK phosphorylation and AChR clustering was tested in C2C12 myotubes with 31 MuSK-myasthenia gravis (MG) sera and purified MuSK-MG IgG4 preparations. RESULTS: In the absence of MuSK-MG Abs, NSC-87877 increased MuSK phosphorylation and the number of AChR clusters in C2C12 myotubes in vitro and in DOK7-overexpressing C2C12 myotubes that form spontaneous AChR clusters. In the presence of MuSK-MG sera, the AChR clusters were reduced, as expected, but NSC-87877 was able to protect or restore the clusters. Two purified MuSK-MG IgG4 preparations inhibited both MuSK phosphorylation and AChR cluster formation, and in both, clusters were restored with NSC-87877. CONCLUSIONS: Stimulating the agrin-LRP4-MuSK-DOK7 AChR clustering pathway with NSC-87877, or other drugs, could represent a novel therapeutic approach for MuSK-MG and could potentially improve other NMJ disorders with reduced AChR numbers or disrupted NMJs.
Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm