Acetylcholine receptor (AChR) gene expression was analyzed in experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis (EAMG) in rabbits, rats and mice. An increase in AChR transcripts was demonstrated to be exclusively associated with myasthenic symptoms and with a severe loss in membrane AChR. An increase of alpha-, beta-, epsilon-, and delta-subunit specific mRNAs (5.2-, 1.6-, 3.2- and 3.7-fold, respectively), which code for the adult type of AChR (alpha 2 beta epsilon delta) was observed in EAMG in rats. The gamma-subunit transcript was not detectable in myasthenic or healthy rats. It appears that the regulatory control of AChR gene expression in EAMG is different from that observed upon denervation.