Project: Research project

Project Details


The principal goal of this research is to develop antigen-specific
immunotherapy for an autoimmune disease of skeletal muscle, myasthenia
gravis (MG). Related goals are the definition of genetic factors
influencing susceptibility to MG, and the immunologic mechanisms involved
in effecting and suppressing the disease process.

Antigenic determinants of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (AChR) that are
involved in the pathogenesis of MG will be defined using monoclonal
antibodies. Antibodies produced by B-lymphocytes from MG patients
hybridized with a suitable myeloma line should give direct information
about determinants of AChR that are relevant to the pathogenesis of MG.
The role of the thymus in MG will be a focus of our investigations,
particularly the role of non-lymphoid thymic elements. The antigenicity of
AChR in non-innervated muscle (such as is found in the thymus, the putative
site where MG is initiated) will be compared with that of innervated
muscle, and the antigenicity of thymus and oculobulbar muscle AChR (of
putative neuroectodermal origin) will be compared with that of AChR in
limbs (of mesodermal origin). The association between thymoma and
autoimmunity to AChR will be investigated, both in patients with MG and in
the thymoma-prone AKR/J strain of mouse, which has anomalous immune
responsiveness to AChR.
StatusNot started


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