Reduced thymic expression of ErbB receptors without auto-antibodies against synaptic ErbB in myasthenia gravis

Kathleen Vrolix, Erik H. Niks, Rozen Le Panse, Monique M. van Ostaijen-ten Dam, Anne-Hilde Muris, Cornelia M. Jol-van der Zijde, Maarten J. D. van Tol, Mario Losen, Peter C. Molenaar, Everardus J. J. van Zoelen, Sonia Berrih-Aknin, Marc H. De Baets, Jan J. G. M. Verschuuren, Pilar Martinez-Martinez*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In myasthenia gravis (MG), the neuromuscular transmission is impaired mainly by auto-antibodies against the acetylcholine receptor (AChR) or MuSK. In about 5% of the MG patients, however, the auto-antigen is still unknown. We investigated whether these idiopathic MG patients (iMG) have auto-antibodies against ErbB proteins, which influence the AChR density at the NMJ. Our results show reduced mRNA expression levels of ErbB4 in thymus tissue of iMG patients compared to AChR-MG and non-MG patients, but we could not detect anti-ErbB antibodies in sera of iMG patients. Therefore, our results do not support a role for ErbB receptors as auto-antigens in iMG patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-165
JournalJournal of Neuroimmunology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Auto-antibodies
  • Neuromuscular junction
  • ErbB

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