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Acetylcholine receptor antibodies in myasthenia gravis are associated with greater risk of diabetes and thyroid disease

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Toth C, McDonald D, Oger J, Brownell K. Acetylcholine receptor antibodies in myasthenia gravis are associated with greater risk of diabetes and thyroid disease.

Acta Neurol Scand 2006: 114: 124–132. © 2006 The Authors Journal compilation © 2006 Blackwell Munksgaard. Objective – 

Myasthenia gravis (MG) may be associated with the presence of acetylcholine receptor antibodies (AChRAb) [seropositive MG (SPMG)] or their absence [seronegative MG (SNMG)]. Along with features of MG, the presence of the AChRAb may relate to the existence of other immune-mediated diseases. We sought to determine the association of SPMG with other potential autoimmune diseases. Methods – 

A retrospective evaluation of prospectively identified MG patients at a tertiary care center was performed, with patients separated into SPMG and SNMG. Prevalence of other immune-mediated disorders, as well as the epidemiology, sensitivity of diagnostic testing, and thymic pathology, was contrasted between both patient groups. Results – 

Of the 109 MG patients identified, 66% were SPMG. SPMG was associated with a greater likelihood of significant repetitive stimulation decrement, the presence of either thymoma or thymic hyperplasia, and the presence of thyroid disease. In addition, all patients with a diagnosis of diabetes, concurrent with MG, were found to be SPMG. Conclusions – 

AChRAb and SPMG impart not only a distinctive clinical and electrophysiological phenotype of MG, but are also associated with the heightened presence of endocrinological disease.
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Keywords: diabetes; myasthenia gravis; thyroid disease

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Calgary and the Calgary Health Region, Calgary, Alberta, Canada 2: College of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 3: Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Publication date: 2006-08-01

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