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Myasthenia Gravis

What is Myasthenia Gravis?

Myasthenia Gravis is an autoimmune disease that affects about 14-40 in every 1000 individuals. Individuals affected by Myasthenia Gravis produce an autoimmune response that blocks receptors in the neuromuscular junction, leading to reduced muscle function. The neuromuscular junction is the site where an action potential moves from a motor neuron to a muscle. In healthy individuals, the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine can easily diffuse across the neuromuscular junction, producing a physiological response of muscle contraction. However, for individuals with Myasthenia Gravis, their body’s own antibodies block and destroy the sites that serve as receptors for the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine. Because there are fewer Acetylcholine receptors available for the neurotransmitter to bind to, nerve impulses cannot effectively pass through the neuromuscular junction. This results in weak muscle contractions, which is characteristic of Myasthenia Gravis. 

 

While the cause of Myasthenia Gravis is relatively unknown, in 75% of Myasthenia Gravis cases, the affected individuals have a thymus malfunction. Therefore, researchers have linked the condition to thymus dysfunction. The thymus is a lymphoid tissue organ responsible for proper development of the immune system. The thymus typically removes antibodies causing autoimmune responses. Researchers have hypothesized that Myasthenia Gravis can be attributed to the thymus malfunctioning, which allows for the survival of antibodies that cause unregulated autoimmune responses.

 

The symptoms for Myasthenia Gravis largely depend on the area affected by the condition. More generally, Myasthenia Gravis begins with muscle weakness around the eye, jaw, throat, and face. There are potent treatments for Myasthenia Gravis that can greatly reduce the severity of the symptoms and reduce overall muscle weakness. In certain cases, individuals can go into either temporary or complete remission and continue with a completely normal lifestyle.

 

Synonyms

  • Myasthenia Gravis

Myasthenia Gravis is an autoimmune disease that affects about 14-40 in every 1000 individuals. Individuals affected by Myasthenia Gravis produce an autoimmune response that blocks receptors in the neuromuscular junction, leading to reduced muscle function. The neuromuscular junction is the site where an action potential moves from a motor neuron to a muscle. In healthy individuals, the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine can easily diffuse across the neuromuscular junction, producing a physiological response of muscle contraction. However, for individuals with Myasthenia Gravis, their body’s own antibodies block and destroy the sites that serve as receptors for the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine. Because there are fewer Acetylcholine receptors available for the neurotransmitter to bind to, nerve impulses cannot effectively pass through the neuromuscular junction. This results in weak muscle contractions, which is characteristic of Myasthenia Gravis. 

 

While the cause of Myasthenia Gravis is relatively unknown, in 75% of Myasthenia Gravis cases, the affected individuals have a thymus malfunction. Therefore, researchers have linked the condition to thymus dysfunction. The thymus is a lymphoid tissue organ responsible for proper development of the immune system. The thymus typically removes antibodies causing autoimmune responses. Researchers have hypothesized that Myasthenia Gravis can be attributed to the thymus malfunctioning, which allows for the survival of antibodies that cause unregulated autoimmune responses.

 

The symptoms for Myasthenia Gravis largely depend on the area affected by the condition. More generally, Myasthenia Gravis begins with muscle weakness around the eye, jaw, throat, and face. There are potent treatments for Myasthenia Gravis that can greatly reduce the severity of the symptoms and reduce overall muscle weakness. In certain cases, individuals can go into either temporary or complete remission and continue with a completely normal lifestyle.

Acknowledgement of Myasthenia Gravis has not been added yet.

In the United States, Myasthenia Gravis affects around 14 to 40 out of every 1000 individuals. The number of cases of Myasthenia Gravis has increased in recent years, corresponding to the recent surges in autoimmune conditions in the past few years.

 

While the condition affects individuals of all ethnicities, Myasthenia Gravis is more prevalent in females than males. In addition, the onset of symptoms for the condition occurs much earlier in females when they are in their 20s and 30s. However, males typically become aware of their symptoms in their 50s or 60s. Although it is rare, infants can sometimes develop a form of the condition, called neonatal myasthenia, which is caused due to antibodies from their mother with Myasthenia Gravis being transferred to the fetus.

Name Abbreviation
Myasthenia Gravis MG

Myasthenia Gravis is an autoimmune disease, where the body’s own immune cells produce antibodies which attack receptor proteins in muscles responsible for nerve impulse reception. In unaffected individuals, the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine can diffuse across the neuromuscular junction to transmit nerve impulses and trigger muscle contraction. However, in individuals with Myasthenia Gravis, antibodies block and destroy the sites that serve as receptors for the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine. Due to this, there is a decreased number of available Acetylcholine receptors for the neurotransmitter to bind and hence nerve impulses cannot effectively pass through the neuromuscular junction. Therefore, this causes weak muscle contractions, which is characteristic of Myasthenia Gravis. 

 

The cause of Myasthenia Gravis is currently unknown. However, given that close to 75% of affected individuals also have thymus abnormalities, some scientists have linked the condition to the thymus (a lymphoid tissue organ typically responsible for proper development of the immune system). The thymus typically removes antibodies causing autoimmune responses. Researchers have hypothesized that Myasthenia Gravis can be attributed to the thymus malfunctioning, which allows for the survival of antibodies that cause unregulated autoimmune responses.

The symptoms for Myasthenia Gravis largely depend on the area affected by the condition. For example, ocular Myasthenia Gravis affects primarily the eye muscles, so droopy eyelids (ptosis) and hence blurred vision are common symptoms. More generally, Myasthenia Gravis begins with muscle weakness around the eye, jaw, throat, and face. Due to the weakening of facial muscles, the condition can cause speech difficulties (dysarthria) or swallowing problems. Individuals can also experience weakening of arm and leg muscles and muscle atrophy can eventually occur. Individuals with the condition can also experience shortness of breath. However, the severity of the symptoms and the muscle weakness greatly varies depending on the individual and based on the amount of activity done.

Given that Myasthenia Gravis is typically accompanied by muscle weakness, it is often undiagnosed for many years in individuals with a milder form of the condition. However, the condition can be detected in a number of ways now through a multitude of different tests. Many of the tests work by detecting symptoms of the condition since the direct cause of the condition is still unknown.

 

Tests to diagnose Myasthenia Gravis include:

  • Blood test → immunoassays can be used to determine the presence and quantity of Acetylcholine receptor antibodies. If the levels for the antibodies are unusually high, this suggests that the individual has the condition

  • Electrodiagnostics → it involves repetitive nerve stimulation through electric pulses and can help detect whether there is impaired nerve-to-muscle transmission

  • Physical and neurological examinations → can help doctors determine whether the individual is suffering from muscle weakness

  • Diagnostic imaging → it can be used to detect the presence of a thymoma, which is a tumor that is often indicative of Myasthenia Gravis

  • Pulmonary function testing → it can help measure the strength of breathing and detect shortness of breath, which could lead to myasthenic crisis (when respiration completely fails)

Myasthenia Gravis can be controlled through a number of treatments to reduce muscle weakness:

  • Thymectomy → the dysfunctional thymus is removed, which can potentially help resolve some of the immune system functioning issues

  • Anticholinesterase medications → reduces the breakdown of Acetylcholine in the neuromuscular junctions, which contributes to increased muscle strength

  • Monoclonal antibody → treatment that targets the anti-Acetylcholine receptor antibodies that damage the neuromuscular junction

  • Immunosuppressive drugs → the production of harmful autoimmune antibodies is suppressed, but these drugs can often cause adverse side effects

  • Plasmapheresis and intravenous immunoglobulin → removes the harmful antibodies that are attacking the body’s own cells and floods the individual’s body with healthy antibodies. This treatment is only effective for a limited amount of time.

Treatment for Myasthenia Gravis can greatly reduce the severity of the symptoms and reduce overall muscle weakness. In certain cases, individuals can go into either temporary or complete remission and continue with a completely normal lifestyle.

Tips or Suggestions of Myasthenia Gravis has not been added yet.

Gilhus NE, Owe JF, Hoff JM, Romi F, Skeie GO, Aarli JA. Myasthenia gravis: a review of available treatment approaches. Autoimmune Diseases. 2011;2011:847393. doi:10.4061/2011/847393

 

Jayam Trouth A, Dabi A, Solieman N, Kurukumbi M, Kalyanam J. Myasthenia gravis: a review. Autoimmune Diseases. 2012;2012:874680. doi:10.1155/2012/874680

 

Jordan A, Freimer M. Recent advances in understanding and managing myasthenia gravis. F1000Research. 2018;7:F1000 Faculty Rev-1727. doi:10.12688/f1000research.15973.1

 

Mayoclinic. Myasthenia gravis. 2019. Available from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/myasthenia-gravis/symptoms-causes/syc-20352036

 

Melzer N, Ruck T, Fuhr P, et al. Clinical features, pathogenesis, and treatment of myasthenia gravis: a supplement to the Guidelines of the German Neurological Society. Journal of Neurology. 2016;263(8):1473–1494. doi:10.1007/s00415-016-8045-z

 

National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Myasthenia Gravis Fact Sheet What is myasthenia gravis? 2017. Available from https://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/patient-caregiver-education/fact-sheets/Myasthenia-gravis-fact-sheet

 

National Organization for Rare Disorders. Myasthenia Gravis. 2017.  Available from https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/myasthenia-gravis/

 

Phillips WD, Vincent A. Pathogenesis of myasthenia gravis: update on disease types, models, and mechanisms. F1000Research. 2016;5:F1000 Faculty Rev-1513. Published 2016 Jun 27. doi:10.12688/f1000research.8206.1

 

Statland JM, Ciafaloni E. Myasthenia gravis: Five new things. Neurology Clinical Practice. 2013;3(2):126–133. doi:10.1212/CPJ.0b013e31828d9fec

https://myasthenia.org/

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/myasthenia-gravis

 

Community Details Update Created by RareshareTeam
Last updated 27 Jun 2022, 04:42 PM

Posted by RareshareTeam
27 Jun 2022, 04:42 PM

Hi everyone,

The Myasthenia Gravis community details have been updated. We added more information about the cause, prevalence, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. Hopefully, you find it helpful. 

 

Community Details Update Created by RareshareTeam
Last updated 20 Nov 2019, 02:36 AM

Posted by RareshareTeam
20 Nov 2019, 02:36 AM

Hi everyone,

The myasthenia gravis community details have been updated. We added more information about the cause, prevalence, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. Hopefully, you find it helpful. 

remission??? Created by silcyc
Last updated 28 Feb 2011, 11:02 PM

Posted by silcyc
28 Feb 2011, 11:02 PM

I was diagnosed with ocular myasthenia gravis in 2006 but have had it quite a few years longer. My vision would double many times in a week and a few weeks ago I realized it hasn't happened in many months. I know there's no cure but I'm really hoping that this will be a LONG remission. I also have sarcoidosis and that's enough to deal with. Any of you others in remission?

Community Resources
Title Description Date Link
Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America (MGFA)

The Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America (MGFA) is the only national volunteer health agency dedicated solely to the fight against myasthenia gravis.

03/20/2017

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CoRDS, or the Coordination of Rare Diseases at Sanford, is based at Sanford Research in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It provides researchers with a centralized, international patient registry for all rare diseases. This program allows patients and researchers to connect as easily as possible to help advance treatments and cures for rare diseases. The CoRDS team works with patient advocacy groups, individuals and researchers to help in the advancement of research in over 7,000 rare diseases. The registry is free for patients to enroll and researchers to access.

Enrolling is easy.

  1. Complete the screening form.
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After these steps, the enrollment process is complete. All other questions are voluntary. However, these questions are important to patients and their families to create awareness as well as to researchers to study rare diseases. This is why we ask our participants to update their information annually or anytime changes to their information occur.

Researchers can contact CoRDS to determine if the registry contains participants with the rare disease they are researching. If the researcher determines there is a sufficient number of participants or data on the rare disease of interest within the registry, the researcher can apply for access. Upon approval from the CoRDS Scientific Advisory Board, CoRDS staff will reach out to participants on behalf of the researcher. It is then up to the participant to determine if they would like to join the study.

Visit sanfordresearch.org/CoRDS to enroll.

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Community Details Update

Created by RareshareTeam | Last updated 27 Jun 2022, 04:42 PM

Community Details Update

Created by RareshareTeam | Last updated 20 Nov 2019, 02:36 AM

remission???

Created by silcyc | Last updated 28 Feb 2011, 11:02 PM


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