The motor end plate in myasthenia gravis and in experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis. A quantitative ultrastructural study.

Andrew G Engel, M. Tsujihata, J. M. Lindstrom, Vanda A Lennon

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Abstract

Neuromuscular junction ultrastructure in rat forelimb digit extensor muscle was sequentially and quantitatively investigated in experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis (EAMG). Experimental animals received a single dose of highly purified eel-electroplax acetylcholine receptor protein plus complete Freund's adjuvant and B. pertussis organisms. During the first 7 days (latent period) after immunization the experimental end plates remained normal. Between day 7 and 11 (acute phase) mononuclear cells infiltrated those regions of muscle where the end plates were located and the was sudden degeneration of the postsynaptic regions with splitting away of the abnormal junctional folds from the underlying muscle fibers. Macrophages entered the gaps arising between the muscle fibers and the separating postsynaptic folds and removed the degenerating folds by phagocytosis. The nerve terminals were displaced from their usual location but maintained their structural integrity. After day 11 (chronic phase) the inflammatory reaction subsided and the nerve terminals returned to the highly simplified postsynaptic regions. Subsequently the postsynaptic folds were reconstituted and again they degenerated. The degeneration involved especially the tips of the folds where acetylcholine receptor sites are concentrated. Immature junctions with poorly differentiated postsynaptic regions and nerve sprouts near end plates were also observed. In two animals that relapsed on day 27 and 33, respectively, degeneration of the postsynaptic folds was more intense than in the remaining animals that had not relapsed during the chronic phase. Morphometric analysis of the end plates demonstrated significant decreases in the postsynaptic membrane length, in the postsynaptic membrane density and in the postsynaptic to presynaptic membrane length ratio in chronic EAMG. In addition, the concentration of synaptic vesicles in the nerve terminals was increased in acute and chronic EAMG while the nerve terminal area was decreased in acute EAMG. The alterations in the nerve terminal may be secondary to the postsynaptic changes. The postsynaptic region is the primary target of the autoimmune reaction in EAMG and the ultrastructural and morphometric abnormalities of the end plate in the chronic phase of the syndrome closely resemble those which have been observed in human myasthenia gravis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-79
Number of pages20
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Volume274
StatePublished - 1976

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Autoimmune Experimental Myasthenia Gravis
Motor Endplate
Muscle
Animals
Cholinergic Receptors
Muscles
Membranes
Immunization
Freund's Adjuvant
Fibers
Macrophages
Structural integrity
Post-Synaptic Density
Eels
Forelimb
Whooping Cough
Synaptic Vesicles
Neuromuscular Junction
Myasthenia Gravis
Rats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Cite this

@article{63d6766fe2c5452880e8895135e2fef0,
title = "The motor end plate in myasthenia gravis and in experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis. A quantitative ultrastructural study.",
abstract = "Neuromuscular junction ultrastructure in rat forelimb digit extensor muscle was sequentially and quantitatively investigated in experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis (EAMG). Experimental animals received a single dose of highly purified eel-electroplax acetylcholine receptor protein plus complete Freund's adjuvant and B. pertussis organisms. During the first 7 days (latent period) after immunization the experimental end plates remained normal. Between day 7 and 11 (acute phase) mononuclear cells infiltrated those regions of muscle where the end plates were located and the was sudden degeneration of the postsynaptic regions with splitting away of the abnormal junctional folds from the underlying muscle fibers. Macrophages entered the gaps arising between the muscle fibers and the separating postsynaptic folds and removed the degenerating folds by phagocytosis. The nerve terminals were displaced from their usual location but maintained their structural integrity. After day 11 (chronic phase) the inflammatory reaction subsided and the nerve terminals returned to the highly simplified postsynaptic regions. Subsequently the postsynaptic folds were reconstituted and again they degenerated. The degeneration involved especially the tips of the folds where acetylcholine receptor sites are concentrated. Immature junctions with poorly differentiated postsynaptic regions and nerve sprouts near end plates were also observed. In two animals that relapsed on day 27 and 33, respectively, degeneration of the postsynaptic folds was more intense than in the remaining animals that had not relapsed during the chronic phase. Morphometric analysis of the end plates demonstrated significant decreases in the postsynaptic membrane length, in the postsynaptic membrane density and in the postsynaptic to presynaptic membrane length ratio in chronic EAMG. In addition, the concentration of synaptic vesicles in the nerve terminals was increased in acute and chronic EAMG while the nerve terminal area was decreased in acute EAMG. The alterations in the nerve terminal may be secondary to the postsynaptic changes. The postsynaptic region is the primary target of the autoimmune reaction in EAMG and the ultrastructural and morphometric abnormalities of the end plate in the chronic phase of the syndrome closely resemble those which have been observed in human myasthenia gravis.",
author = "Engel, {Andrew G} and M. Tsujihata and Lindstrom, {J. M.} and Lennon, {Vanda A}",
year = "1976",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "274",
pages = "60--79",
journal = "Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences",
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T1 - The motor end plate in myasthenia gravis and in experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis. A quantitative ultrastructural study.

AU - Engel, Andrew G

AU - Tsujihata, M.

AU - Lindstrom, J. M.

AU - Lennon, Vanda A

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N2 - Neuromuscular junction ultrastructure in rat forelimb digit extensor muscle was sequentially and quantitatively investigated in experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis (EAMG). Experimental animals received a single dose of highly purified eel-electroplax acetylcholine receptor protein plus complete Freund's adjuvant and B. pertussis organisms. During the first 7 days (latent period) after immunization the experimental end plates remained normal. Between day 7 and 11 (acute phase) mononuclear cells infiltrated those regions of muscle where the end plates were located and the was sudden degeneration of the postsynaptic regions with splitting away of the abnormal junctional folds from the underlying muscle fibers. Macrophages entered the gaps arising between the muscle fibers and the separating postsynaptic folds and removed the degenerating folds by phagocytosis. The nerve terminals were displaced from their usual location but maintained their structural integrity. After day 11 (chronic phase) the inflammatory reaction subsided and the nerve terminals returned to the highly simplified postsynaptic regions. Subsequently the postsynaptic folds were reconstituted and again they degenerated. The degeneration involved especially the tips of the folds where acetylcholine receptor sites are concentrated. Immature junctions with poorly differentiated postsynaptic regions and nerve sprouts near end plates were also observed. In two animals that relapsed on day 27 and 33, respectively, degeneration of the postsynaptic folds was more intense than in the remaining animals that had not relapsed during the chronic phase. Morphometric analysis of the end plates demonstrated significant decreases in the postsynaptic membrane length, in the postsynaptic membrane density and in the postsynaptic to presynaptic membrane length ratio in chronic EAMG. In addition, the concentration of synaptic vesicles in the nerve terminals was increased in acute and chronic EAMG while the nerve terminal area was decreased in acute EAMG. The alterations in the nerve terminal may be secondary to the postsynaptic changes. The postsynaptic region is the primary target of the autoimmune reaction in EAMG and the ultrastructural and morphometric abnormalities of the end plate in the chronic phase of the syndrome closely resemble those which have been observed in human myasthenia gravis.

AB - Neuromuscular junction ultrastructure in rat forelimb digit extensor muscle was sequentially and quantitatively investigated in experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis (EAMG). Experimental animals received a single dose of highly purified eel-electroplax acetylcholine receptor protein plus complete Freund's adjuvant and B. pertussis organisms. During the first 7 days (latent period) after immunization the experimental end plates remained normal. Between day 7 and 11 (acute phase) mononuclear cells infiltrated those regions of muscle where the end plates were located and the was sudden degeneration of the postsynaptic regions with splitting away of the abnormal junctional folds from the underlying muscle fibers. Macrophages entered the gaps arising between the muscle fibers and the separating postsynaptic folds and removed the degenerating folds by phagocytosis. The nerve terminals were displaced from their usual location but maintained their structural integrity. After day 11 (chronic phase) the inflammatory reaction subsided and the nerve terminals returned to the highly simplified postsynaptic regions. Subsequently the postsynaptic folds were reconstituted and again they degenerated. The degeneration involved especially the tips of the folds where acetylcholine receptor sites are concentrated. Immature junctions with poorly differentiated postsynaptic regions and nerve sprouts near end plates were also observed. In two animals that relapsed on day 27 and 33, respectively, degeneration of the postsynaptic folds was more intense than in the remaining animals that had not relapsed during the chronic phase. Morphometric analysis of the end plates demonstrated significant decreases in the postsynaptic membrane length, in the postsynaptic membrane density and in the postsynaptic to presynaptic membrane length ratio in chronic EAMG. In addition, the concentration of synaptic vesicles in the nerve terminals was increased in acute and chronic EAMG while the nerve terminal area was decreased in acute EAMG. The alterations in the nerve terminal may be secondary to the postsynaptic changes. The postsynaptic region is the primary target of the autoimmune reaction in EAMG and the ultrastructural and morphometric abnormalities of the end plate in the chronic phase of the syndrome closely resemble those which have been observed in human myasthenia gravis.

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