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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Congenital myasthenic syndromes in two kinships with end-plate acetylcholine receptor and utrophin deficiency.

We studied two families with five affected members suffering from ptosis and slowly progressive limb-girdle muscle weakness. All patients had abnormal decremental response on low-frequency nerve stimulation, but there were no repetitive responses to single stimuli. The patients improved on anti-acetylcholinesterase drugs. Intercostal muscle was obtained for special studies from one patient of each family. In vitro microelectrode studies were done in Patient 1. Miniature end-plate potentials were of low amplitude, and the quantal content of the evoked end-plate potentials was normal. Light microscopy revealed a marked type 1 fiber predominance. Acetylcholinesterase reactivity was dispersed over increased length of individual fibers in Patient 2. On morphometry of the end-plate ultrastructure, the number of secondary synaptic clefts per neuromuscular junction and the expansion of the postsynaptic area were markedly reduced. In Patient 1, but not in Patient 2, the envelopment of the nerve terminal by Schwann cell was increased. Acetylcholine-receptor (AChR) density was reduced as judged by the reduced immunoreactivity to antibodies against different receptor subunits. Immunohistochemical analysis of proteins known to be involved in orchestrating the end-plate structure showed deficiency of the AChR-associated protein utrophin. These patients appear to have a defect in the development or maintenance of the postsynaptic clefts; whether this defect results from or causes a reduced expression of utrophin or AChR is unclear.[1]


  1. Congenital myasthenic syndromes in two kinships with end-plate acetylcholine receptor and utrophin deficiency. Sieb, J.P., Dörfler, P., Tzartos, S., Wewer, U.M., Rüegg, M.A., Meyer, D., Baumann, I., Lindemuth, R., Jakschik, J., Ries, F. Neurology (1998) [Pubmed]
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