Myasthenia Gravis: A Review of Available Treatment Approaches

Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Bergen, 5020 Bergen, Norway.
Autoimmune diseases 10/2011; 2011(1):847393. DOI: 10.4061/2011/847393
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Patients with autoimmune myasthenia gravis (MG) should be further classified before initiating therapy, as treatment response varies for ocular versus generalised, early onset versus late onset, and acetylcholine receptor antibody positive versus MuSK antibody positive disease. Most patients need immunosuppression in addition to symptomatic therapy. Prednisolone and azathioprine represent first choice drugs, whereas several second choice options are recommended and should be considered. Thymectomy should be undertaken in MG with thymoma and in generalised, early-onset MG. For MG crises and other acute exacerbations, intravenous immunoglobulin (IvIg) and plasma exchange are equally effective and safe treatments. Children and females in child bearing age need special attention regarding potential side effects of immunosuppressive therapy. MG pathogenesis is known in detail, but the immune therapy is still surprisingly unspecific, without a pin-pointed attack on the defined disease-inducing antigen-antibody reaction being available.

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Available from: Geir OLve Skeie, Sep 27, 2015
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    • "Accordingly, the effectiveness of preoperative steroidal treatment for MG patients has been investigated for several decades [10,11]. The rationale for implementing induction steroid therapy combined with extended thymectomy may be explained as follows. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study aimed to investigate the benefits of administering perioperative high-dose prednisolone in conjunction with thymectomy in patients with myasthenia gravis. We retrospectively reviewed data from patients with Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America Clinical Class I to IIIB who had undergone an extended thymectomy between 1992 and 2009. Perioperative high-dose prednisolone was administered at starting doses of 10 to 20 mg and escalated up to 100 mg on alternate days. The treatment group comprised 70 patients receiving perioperative high-dose prednisolone, whereas the control group included 61 patients not treated with preoperative steroids. The two groups were compared with respect to baseline clinical characteristics, incidence of postoperative complications, and follow-up disease status. Prednisolone-treated patients presented with more advanced disease compared to controls (Class IIB or greater, 42 [60.0%] versus 7 [11.3%], respectively; P < 0.001). Mean preoperative%FVC was lower and FEV1.0% was higher in treated patients than in controls (%FVC: 92.4 +/- 2.3% versus 99.5 +/- 2.4%, respectively; P = 0.037, FEV1.0%: 85.2 +/- 1.3% versus 81.4 +/- 0.9%, respectively; P = 0.017). The groups were similar in other variables including presence of thymoma, and operative procedure. In the treatment group, disease status was significantly improved only by the induction of high-dose prednisolone before the surgery (P < 0.001), and these patients discontinued anti-cholinesterase therapy more frequently than controls (P < 0.001). Moreover, the treatment group demonstrated markedly lower rates of postoperative crisis (12.2% versus 2.9%, respectively; P = 0.045). The incidence of infection, wound dehiscence, and diabetes mellitus were comparable between groups. Survival analysis demonstrated higher rates of treated patients with improved disease status at three and five years (92% and 96%, respectively) compared to controls (57% and 76%, respectively; P < 0.001). Likewise, significantly greater proportions of treated patients achieved complete stable remission or pharmacologic remission at three, five, and ten years (23%, 42%, and 72%, respectively) compared to controls (10%, 20%, and 44%, respectively; P = 0.002). Perioperative high-dose prednisolone therapy is a safe, promising strategy for managing patients with myasthenia gravis and may reduce the incidence of postoperative crisis while improving disease status.
    Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery 12/2013; 8(1):226. DOI:10.1186/1749-8090-8-226 · 1.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT:  Myasthenia gravis (MG) is an autoimmune disorder mediated by antibodies against the acethylcholine receptor (AchR) of the neuromuscular junction in the majority of patients.  Here, we examined IgG antibodies against the type 1 nuclear antigen of Epstein-Barr virus (EBNA-1) in the sera of 158 patients with MG compared to 184 healthy controls. Although serum concentration in the sera was not different, high anti-EBNA-1 IgG titers (above 90th percentile of the normal values) were more common in the patients (26.6 vs. 16.3%, P=0.024). In addition, high EBNA-1 IgG levels occurred more frequently amongst the 94 patients with early-onset myasthenia gravis (EOMG, 30.8%) as compared to the 64 patients with late-onset disease (LOMG, 14.1%) (P=0.021). Using multiple logistic regression, high serum concentration of the anti-EBNA-1 IgG antibodies was significantly associated with EOMG (OR: 3.17, P=0.027), even after adjustment for sex, presence/absence of anti-AchR antibodies and presence/absence of anti-Titin antibodies. Out of 39 patients with EOMG, who underwent thymectomy, 18 patients (46%) had thymoma, 6 had thymic hyperplasia (15%), and 15 patients had thymic atrophy (39%); there was no difference comparing EBNA-1 antibody titers in the sera. As no correlation was found between the titers of anti-AchR, anti-Titin, and EBNA-1 antibodies, a dysregulated heterogeneous B-cell response was unlikely to be responsible for the elevated levels of EBV-associated antibody in patients.   In summary, our data suggest that high levels of EBNA-1 antibodies are more common in MG compared to healthy controls and are especially associated with EOMG.
    European Journal of Neurology 01/2012; 19(6):842-6. DOI:10.1111/j.1468-1331.2011.03636.x · 4.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Acquired myasthenia gravis (MG) is a rare antibody-mediated autoimmune disease caused by impaired neuromuscular transmission, leading to abnormal muscle fatigability. The aetiology is complex, including genetic risk factors of the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) complex and unknown environmental factors. Although associations between the HLA complex and MG are well established, not all involved components of the HLA predisposition to this heterogeneous disease have been revealed. Well-powered and comprehensive HLA analyses of subgroups in MG are warranted, especially in late onset MG. This case-control association study is of a large population-based Norwegian cohort of 369 MG patients and 651 healthy controls. We performed comprehensive genotyping of four classical HLA loci (HLA-A, -B, -C and -DRB1) and showed that the DRB1*15:01 allele conferred the strongest risk in late onset MG (LOMG; onset ≥ 60 years) (OR 2.38, p(c)7.4 × 10(-5)). DRB1*13:01 was found to be a protective allele for both early onset MG (EOMG) and LOMG (OR 0.31, p(c) 4.71 × 10(-4)), a finding not previously described. No significant association was found to the DRB1*07:01 allele (p(nc) = 0.18) in a subset of nonthymomatous anti-titin antibody positive LOMG as reported by others. HLA-B*08 was mapped to give the strongest contribution to EOMG, supporting previous studies. The results from this study provide important new information concerning the susceptibility of HLA alleles in Caucasian MG, with highlights on DRB1*15:01 as being a major risk allele in LOMG.
    PLoS ONE 05/2012; 7(5):e36603. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0036603 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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