Unravelling the pathogenesis of myasthenia gravis

Nat Rev Immunol. 2002 Oct;2(10):797-804. doi: 10.1038/nri916.


Myasthenia gravis is a relatively rare neurological disease that is associated with loss of the acetylcholine receptors that initiate muscle contraction. This results in muscle weakness, which can be life-threatening. The story of how both the physiological basis of the disease and the role of acetylcholine-receptor-specific antibodies were determined is a classic example of the application of basic science to clinical medicine, and it has provided a model for defining other antibody-mediated disorders of the peripheral and central nervous systems.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoantibodies / metabolism
  • Autoimmunity
  • History, 17th Century
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Models, Immunological
  • Myasthenia Gravis / etiology*
  • Myasthenia Gravis / history
  • Myasthenia Gravis / immunology
  • Myasthenia Gravis / physiopathology
  • Neuromuscular Junction / physiopathology
  • Receptors, Cholinergic / chemistry
  • Receptors, Cholinergic / immunology
  • Synaptic Transmission


  • Autoantibodies
  • Receptors, Cholinergic