Myasthenia Gravis: A disorder of neuromuscular transmission characterized by weakness of cranial and skeletal muscles. Autoantibodies directed against acetylcholine receptors damage the motor endplate portion of the NEUROMUSCULAR JUNCTION, impairing the transmission of impulses to skeletal muscles. Clinical manifestations may include diplopia, ptosis, and weakness of facial, bulbar, respiratory, and proximal limb muscles. The disease may remain limited to the ocular muscles. THYMOMA is commonly associated with this condition. (Adams et al., Principles of Neurology, 6th ed, p1459)Myasthenia Gravis, Autoimmune, Experimental: Any autoimmune animal disease model used in the study of MYASTHENIA GRAVIS. Injection with purified neuromuscular junction acetylcholine receptor (AChR) (see RECEPTORS, CHOLINERGIC) components results in a myasthenic syndrome that has acute and chronic phases. The motor endplate pathology, loss of acetylcholine receptors, presence of circulating anti-AChR antibodies, and electrophysiologic changes make this condition virtually identical to human myasthenia gravis. Passive transfer of AChR antibodies or lymphocytes from afflicted animals to normals induces passive transfer experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis. (From Joynt, Clinical Neurology, 1997, Ch 54, p3)Thymectomy: Surgical removal of the thymus gland. (Dorland, 28th ed)Receptors, Cholinergic: Cell surface proteins that bind acetylcholine with high affinity and trigger intracellular changes influencing the behavior of cells. Cholinergic receptors are divided into two major classes, muscarinic and nicotinic, based originally on their affinity for nicotine and muscarine. Each group is further subdivided based on pharmacology, location, mode of action, and/or molecular biology.Thymoma: A neoplasm originating from thymic tissue, usually benign, and frequently encapsulated. Although it is occasionally invasive, metastases are extremely rare. It consists of any type of thymic epithelial cell as well as lymphocytes that are usually abundant. Malignant lymphomas that involve the thymus, e.g., lymphosarcoma, Hodgkin's disease (previously termed granulomatous thymoma), should not be regarded as thymoma. (From Stedman, 25th ed)Pyridostigmine Bromide: A cholinesterase inhibitor with a slightly longer duration of action than NEOSTIGMINE. It is used in the treatment of myasthenia gravis and to reverse the actions of muscle relaxants.Thymus Neoplasms: Tumors or cancer of the THYMUS GLAND.Thymus Hyperplasia: Enlargement of the thymus. A condition described in the late 1940's and 1950's as pathological thymic hypertrophy was status thymolymphaticus and was treated with radiotherapy. Unnecessary removal of the thymus was also practiced. It later became apparent that the thymus undergoes normal physiological hypertrophy, reaching a maximum at puberty and involuting thereafter. The concept of status thymolymphaticus has been abandoned. Thymus hyperplasia is present in two thirds of all patients with myasthenia gravis. (From Segen, Dictionary of Modern Medicine, 1992; Cecil Textbook of Medicine, 19th ed, p1486)Myasthenia Gravis, Neonatal: A disorder of neuromuscular transmission that occurs in a minority of newborns born to women with myasthenia gravis. Clinical features are usually present at birth or develop in the first 3 days of life and consist of hypotonia and impaired respiratory, suck, and swallowing abilities. This condition is associated with the passive transfer of acetylcholine receptor antibodies through the placenta. In the majority of infants the myasthenic weakness resolves (i.e., transient neonatal myasthenia gravis) although this disorder may rarely continue beyond the neonatal period (i.e., persistent neonatal myasthenia gravis). (From Menkes, Textbook of Child Neurology, 5th ed, p823; Neurology 1997 Jan;48(1):50-4)Autoantibodies: Antibodies that react with self-antigens (AUTOANTIGENS) of the organism that produced them.Blepharoptosis: Drooping of the upper lid due to deficient development or paralysis of the levator palpebrae muscle.Edrophonium: A rapid-onset, short-acting cholinesterase inhibitor used in cardiac arrhythmias and in the diagnosis of myasthenia gravis. It has also been used as an antidote to curare principles.Cholinesterase Inhibitors: Drugs that inhibit cholinesterases. The neurotransmitter ACETYLCHOLINE is rapidly hydrolyzed, and thereby inactivated, by cholinesterases. When cholinesterases are inhibited, the action of endogenously released acetylcholine at cholinergic synapses is potentiated. Cholinesterase inhibitors are widely used clinically for their potentiation of cholinergic inputs to the gastrointestinal tract and urinary bladder, the eye, and skeletal muscles; they are also used for their effects on the heart and the central nervous system.Plasmapheresis: Procedure whereby plasma is separated and extracted from anticoagulated whole blood and the red cells retransfused to the donor. Plasmapheresis is also employed for therapeutic use.Neostigmine: A cholinesterase inhibitor used in the treatment of myasthenia gravis and to reverse the effects of muscle relaxants such as gallamine and tubocurarine. Neostigmine, unlike PHYSOSTIGMINE, does not cross the blood-brain barrier.Torpedo: A genus of the Torpedinidae family consisting of several species. Members of this family have powerful electric organs and are commonly called electric rays.Neuromuscular Junction: The synapse between a neuron and a muscle.Diplopia: A visual symptom in which a single object is perceived by the visual cortex as two objects rather than one. Disorders associated with this condition include REFRACTIVE ERRORS; STRABISMUS; OCULOMOTOR NERVE DISEASES; TROCHLEAR NERVE DISEASES; ABDUCENS NERVE DISEASES; and diseases of the BRAIN STEM and OCCIPITAL LOBE.Thymus Gland: A single, unpaired primary lymphoid organ situated in the MEDIASTINUM, extending superiorly into the neck to the lower edge of the THYROID GLAND and inferiorly to the fourth costal cartilage. It is necessary for normal development of immunologic function early in life. By puberty, it begins to involute and much of the tissue is replaced by fat.Rats, Inbred LewAutoimmune Diseases: Disorders that are characterized by the production of antibodies that react with host tissues or immune effector cells that are autoreactive to endogenous peptides.Receptors, Nicotinic: One of the two major classes of cholinergic receptors. Nicotinic receptors were originally distinguished by their preference for NICOTINE over MUSCARINE. They are generally divided into muscle-type and neuronal-type (previously ganglionic) based on pharmacology, and subunit composition of the receptors.Ocular Motility Disorders: Disorders that feature impairment of eye movements as a primary manifestation of disease. These conditions may be divided into infranuclear, nuclear, and supranuclear disorders. Diseases of the eye muscles or oculomotor cranial nerves (III, IV, and VI) are considered infranuclear. Nuclear disorders are caused by disease of the oculomotor, trochlear, or abducens nuclei in the BRAIN STEM. Supranuclear disorders are produced by dysfunction of higher order sensory and motor systems that control eye movements, including neural networks in the CEREBRAL CORTEX; BASAL GANGLIA; CEREBELLUM; and BRAIN STEM. Ocular torticollis refers to a head tilt that is caused by an ocular misalignment. Opsoclonus refers to rapid, conjugate oscillations of the eyes in multiple directions, which may occur as a parainfectious or paraneoplastic condition (e.g., OPSOCLONUS-MYOCLONUS SYNDROME). (Adams et al., Principles of Neurology, 6th ed, p240)Eye Manifestations: Ocular disorders attendant upon non-ocular disease or injury.Ophthalmoplegia: Paralysis of one or more of the ocular muscles due to disorders of the eye muscles, neuromuscular junction, supporting soft tissue, tendons, or innervation to the muscles.Electromyography: Recording of the changes in electric potential of muscle by means of surface or needle electrodes.Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome: An autoimmune disease characterized by weakness and fatigability of proximal muscles, particularly of the pelvic girdle, lower extremities, trunk, and shoulder girdle. There is relative sparing of extraocular and bulbar muscles. CARCINOMA, SMALL CELL of the lung is a frequently associated condition, although other malignancies and autoimmune diseases may be associated. Muscular weakness results from impaired impulse transmission at the NEUROMUSCULAR JUNCTION. Presynaptic calcium channel dysfunction leads to a reduced amount of acetylcholine being released in response to stimulation of the nerve. (From Adams et al., Principles of Neurology, 6th ed, pp 1471)Motor Endplate: The specialized postsynaptic region of a muscle cell. The motor endplate is immediately across the synaptic cleft from the presynaptic axon terminal. Among its anatomical specializations are junctional folds which harbor a high density of cholinergic receptors.Muscles: Contractile tissue that produces movement in animals.Bungarotoxins: Neurotoxic proteins from the venom of the banded or Formosan krait (Bungarus multicinctus, an elapid snake). alpha-Bungarotoxin blocks nicotinic acetylcholine receptors and has been used to isolate and study them; beta- and gamma-bungarotoxins act presynaptically causing acetylcholine release and depletion. Both alpha and beta forms have been characterized, the alpha being similar to the large, long or Type II neurotoxins from other elapid venoms.Antibodies: Immunoglobulin molecules having a specific amino acid sequence by virtue of which they interact only with the ANTIGEN (or a very similar shape) that induced their synthesis in cells of the lymphoid series (especially PLASMA CELLS).Azathioprine: An immunosuppressive agent used in combination with cyclophosphamide and hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. According to the Fourth Annual Report on Carcinogens (NTP 85-002, 1985), this substance has been listed as a known carcinogen. (Merck Index, 11th ed)Muscle Weakness: A vague complaint of debility, fatigue, or exhaustion attributable to weakness of various muscles. The weakness can be characterized as subacute or chronic, often progressive, and is a manifestation of many muscle and neuromuscular diseases. (From Wyngaarden et al., Cecil Textbook of Medicine, 19th ed, p2251)Electrophorus: A genus of fish, in the family GYMNOTIFORMES, capable of producing an electric shock that immobilizes fish and other prey. The species Electrophorus electricus is also known as the electric eel, though it is not a true eel.Neuromuscular Junction Diseases: Conditions characterized by impaired transmission of impulses at the NEUROMUSCULAR JUNCTION. This may result from disorders that affect receptor function, pre- or postsynaptic membrane function, or ACETYLCHOLINESTERASE activity. The majority of diseases in this category are associated with autoimmune, toxic, or inherited conditions.Oculomotor Muscles: The muscles that move the eye. Included in this group are the medial rectus, lateral rectus, superior rectus, inferior rectus, inferior oblique, superior oblique, musculus orbitalis, and levator palpebrae superioris.Plasma Exchange: Removal of plasma and replacement with various fluids, e.g., fresh frozen plasma, plasma protein fractions (PPF), albumin preparations, dextran solutions, saline. Used in treatment of autoimmune diseases, immune complex diseases, diseases of excess plasma factors, and other conditions.Immunoglobulin G: The major immunoglobulin isotype class in normal human serum. There are several isotype subclasses of IgG, for example, IgG1, IgG2A, and IgG2B.
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