Myasthenia gravis-like syndrome induced by expression of interferon γ in the neuromuscular junction

Danling Gu, Lise Wogensen, Nigel A. Calcutt, Chunyao Xia, Simin Zhu, John P. Merlie, Howard S. Fox, Jon Lindstrom, Henry C. Powell, Nora Sarvetnick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


Abnormal humoral responses toward motor end plate constituents in muscle induce myasthenia gravis (MG). To study the etiology of this disease, and whether it could be induced by host defense molecules, we examined the consequences of interferon (IFN) γ production within the neuromuscular junction of transgenic mice. The transgenic mice exhibited gradually increasing muscular weakness, flaccid paralysis, and functional disruption of the neuromuscular junction that was reversed after administration of an inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase, features which are strikingly similar to human MG. Furthermore, histological examination revealed infiltration of mononuclear cells and autoantibody deposition at motor end plates. Immunoprecipitation analysis indicated that a previously unidentified 87-kD target antigen was recognized by sera from transgenic mice and also by sera from the majority of human MG patients studied. These results suggest that expression of IFN-γ at motor end plates provokes an autoimmune humoral response, similar to human MG, thus linking the expression of this factor with development of this disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)547-557
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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