Article

Pre- and post-synaptic abnormalities associated with impaired neuromuscular transmission in a group of patients with 'limb-girdle myasthenia'.

School of Neurology, Neurobiology and Psychiatry, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Bath, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
Brain (Impact Factor: 10.23). 09/2006; 129(Pt 8):2061-76. DOI: 10.1093/brain/awl200
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The properties of neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) were studied in motor-point biopsy samples from eight patients with congenital myasthenic syndromes affecting primarily proximal limb muscles ['limb-girdle myasthenia' (LGM)]. All had moderate to severe weakness of the proximal muscles, without short-term clinical fatigability but with marked variation in strength over periods of weeks or months, with little or no facial weakness or ptosis and no ophthalmoplegia. Most had a characteristic gait and stance. All patients showed decrement of the compound muscle action potential (CMAP) on repetitive stimulation at 3 Hz, and increased jitter and blocking was detected by SFEMG, confirming the presence of impaired neuromuscular transmission. None of the patients had serum antibodies against acetylcholine receptors (AChRs). Two of the patients had similarly affected siblings. Intracellular recording from isolated nerve-muscle preparations revealed that the quantal content (the number of ACh quanta released per nerve impulse) was only approximately 50% of that in controls. However, the quantal size (amplitude of miniature end-plate currents) and the kinetic properties of synaptic potentials and currents were similar to control values. The area of synaptic contact and extent of post-synaptic folding were approximately 50% of control values. Thus, the quantal content per unit area of synaptic contact was normal. The number of AChRs per NMJ was also reduced to approximately 50% of normal, so the local AChR density was normal. Immunolabelling studies revealed qualitatively normal distributions and abundance of each of 14 proteins normally concentrated at the NMJ, including components of the basal lamina, post-synaptic membrane and post-synaptic cytoskeleton. DNA analysis failed to detect mutations in the genes encoding any of the following proteins: AChR subunits, rapsyn, ColQ, ChAT or muscle-specific kinase. Response of these patients to treatment was varied: few showed long-term improvement with pyridostigmine and some even deteriorated with treatments, while others had intolerable side-effects. Several patients showed improvement with 3,4-diaminopyridine, but this was generally only transient. Ephedrine was helpful in half of the patients. We conclude that impaired neuromuscular transmission in these LGM patients results from structural abnormalities of the NMJ, including reduced size and post-synaptic folding, rather from any abnormality in the immediate events of neuromuscular transmission.

0 Followers
 · 
118 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Myasthenia is a condition in which neuromuscular transmission is affected by antibodies against neuromuscular junction components (autoimmune myasthenia gravis, MG; and neonatal myasthenia gravis, NMG) or by defects in genes for neuromuscular junction proteins (congenital myasthenic syndromes, CMSs). Clinically, some individuals seem to benefit from treatment with ephedrine, but its effects and adverse effects have not been systematically evaluated. To assess the effects and adverse effects of ephedrine in people with autoimmune MG, transient neonatal MG, and the congenital myasthenic syndromes. On 17 November 2014, we searched the Cochrane Neuromuscular Disease Group Specialized Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE and EMBASE. We also searched reference lists of articles, conference proceedings of relevant conferences, and prospective trial registers. In addition, we contacted manufacturers and researchers in the field. We considered randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi-RCTs comparing ephedrine as a single or add-on treatment with any other active treatment, placebo, or no treatment in adults or children with autoimmune MG, NMG, or CMSs. Two review authors independently assessed study design and quality, and extracted data. We contacted study authors for additional information. We collected information on adverse effects from included articles, and contacted authors. We found no RCTs or quasi-RCTs, and therefore could not establish the effect of ephedrine on MG, NMG and CMSs. We describe the results of 53 non-randomised studies narratively in the Discussion section, including observations of endurance, muscle strength and quality of life. Effects may differ depending on the type of myasthenia. Thirty-seven studies were in participants with CMS, five in participants with MG, and in 11 the precise form of myasthenia was unknown. We found no studies for NMG. Reported adverse effects included tachycardia, sleep disturbances, nervousness, and withdrawal symptoms. There was no evidence available from RCTs or quasi-RCTs, but some observations from non-randomised studies are available. There is a need for more evidence from suitable forms of prospective RCTs, such as series of n-of-one RCTs, that use appropriate and validated outcome measures.
    Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) 12/2014; 12(12):CD010028. DOI:10.1002/14651858.CD010028.pub2 · 5.70 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Objective Electromyography (EMG) is used routinely to diagnose neuromuscular dysfunction in a wide range of peripheral neuropathies, myopathies, and neuromuscular degenerative diseases including motor neuron diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Definitive neurological diagnosis may also be indicated by the analysis of pathological neuromuscular innervation in motor-point biopsies. Our objective in this study was to preempt motor-point biopsy by combining live imaging with electrophysiological analysis of slow degeneration of neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) in vivo.Methods We combined conventional needle electromyography with fiber-optic confocal endomicroscopy (CEM), using an integrated hand-held, 1.5-mm-diameter probe. We utilized as a test bed, various axotomized muscles in the hind limbs of anaesthetized, double-homozygous thy1.2YFP16: WldS mice, which coexpress the Wallerian-degeneration Slow (WldS) protein and yellow fluorescent protein (YFP) in motor neurons. We also tested exogenous vital stains, including Alexa488-α-bungarotoxin; the styryl pyridinium dye 4-Di-2-Asp; and a GFP conjugate of botulinum toxin Type A heavy chain (GFP-HcBoNT/A).ResultsWe show that an integrated EMG/CEM probe is effective in longitudinal evaluation of functional and morphological changes that take place over a 7-day period during axotomy-induced, slow neuromuscular synaptic degeneration. EMG amplitude declined in parallel with overt degeneration of motor nerve terminals. EMG/CEM was safe and effective when nerve terminals and motor endplates were selectively stained with vital dyes.InterpretationOur findings constitute proof-of-concept, based on live imaging in an animal model, that combining EMG/CEM may be useful as a minimally invasive precursor or alternative to motor-point biopsy in neurological diagnosis and for monitoring local administration of potential therapeutics.
    11/2014; 1(11). DOI:10.1002/acn3.124
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The neuromuscular junction (NMJ) is the synapse between a motor neuron and skeletal muscle. Defects in NMJ transmission cause muscle weakness, termed myasthenia. The muscle protein Dok-7 is essential for activation of the receptor kinase MuSK, which governs NMJ formation, and DOK7 mutations underlie familial limb-girdle myasthenia (DOK7 myasthenia), a neuromuscular disease characterized by small NMJs. Here, we show in a mouse model of DOK7 myasthenia that therapeutic administration of an adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector encoding the human DOK7 gene resulted in an enlargement of NMJs and substantial increases in muscle strength and life span. When applied to model mice of another neuromuscular disorder, autosomal dominant Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy, DOK7 gene therapy likewise resulted in enlargement of NMJs as well as positive effects on motor activity and life span. These results suggest that therapies aimed at enlarging the NMJ may be useful for a range of neuromuscular disorders.
    Science 09/2014; 345(6203):1505-8. DOI:10.1126/science.1250744 · 31.48 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Download
28 Downloads
Available from
May 20, 2014