Muscle-selective synaptic disassembly and reorganization in MuSK antibody positive MG mice

Punga, A. R. and Lin, S. and Oliveri, F. and Meinen, S. and Ruegg, M. A.. (2011) Muscle-selective synaptic disassembly and reorganization in MuSK antibody positive MG mice. Experimental Neurology, 230 (2). pp. 207-217.

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MuSK antibody seropositive (MuSK+) Myasthenia Gravis (MG) patients present a distinct selective fatigue, and sometimes atrophy, of bulbar, facial and neck muscles. Here, we study the mechanism underlying the focal muscle involvement in mice with MuSK+ experimental autoimmune MG (EAMG). 8week-old female wildtype C57BL6 mice and transgenic mice, which express yellow fluorescence protein (YFP) in their motor neurons, were immunized with the extracellular domain of rat MuSK and compared with control mice. The soleus, EDL, sternomastoid, omohyoid, thoracic paraspinal and masseter muscles were examined for pre- and postsynaptic changes with whole mount immunostaining and confocal microscopy. Neuromuscular junction derangement was quantified and compared between muscles and correlated with transcript levels of MuSK and other postsynaptic genes. Correlating with the EAMG disease grade, the postsynaptic acetylcholine receptor (AChR) clusters were severely fragmented with a subsequent reduction also of the presynaptic nerve terminal area. Among the muscles analyzed, the thoracic paraspinal, sternomastoid and masseter muscles were more affected than the leg muscles. The masseter muscle was the most affected, leading to denervation and atrophy and this severity correlated with the lowest levels of MuSK mRNA. On the contrary, the soleus with high MuSK mRNA levels had less postsynaptic perturbation and more terminal nerve sprouting. We propose that low muscle-intrinsic MuSK levels render some muscles, such as the masseter, more vulnerable to the postsynaptic perturbation of MuSK antibodies with subsequent denervation and atrophy. These findings augment our understanding of the sometimes severe, facio-bulbar phenotype of MuSK+ MG.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Biozentrum > Neurobiology > Pharmacology/Neurobiology (Rüegg)
UniBasel Contributors:Rüegg, Markus A.
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Academic Press
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:21 Feb 2019 04:14
Deposited On:14 Sep 2012 06:40

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