Recombinant human acetylcholine receptor α-subunit induces chronic experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis

V. A. Lennon, E. H. Lambert, K. R. Leiby, T. B. Okarma, S. Talib

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

92 Scopus citations

Abstract

A synthetic gene encoding the 210 N-terminal residues of the α-subunit of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (AChR) of human skeletal muscle was cloned into an inducible expression plasmid to produce a fusion protein in high yield in Escherichia coli. Like native human AChR, the recombinant human α1-210 protein induced AChR-binding, AChR-modulating, and AChR-blocking autoantibodies in rats when injected once intradermally as an emulsion in CFA, with Bordetella pertussis vaccine as supplementary adjuvant. The minimum dose of recombinant protein required to induce biochemical signs of experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis (EAMG) with 100% incidence was 2.2 μg. With 6.6 to 22 μg, serum levels of autoantibodies were persistent, and clinically apparent EAMG lasted more than a month. Clinical, electrophysiological, and biochemical indices of EAMG induced by doses of 66 μg or more were more uniformly severe and persistent, with 33% fatality. Rats receiving a control extract of E. coli containing plasmid without the α1-210 codon insert, with adjuvants, did not develop autoantibodies or signs of EAMG. This highly reproducible new model of EAMG induced by a recombinant human autoantigen should be valuable for testing Ag-specific immunotherapeutic strategies that might be applicable to treating acquired myasthenia gravis in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2245-2248
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Immunology
Volume146
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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