Use of cell-based assays in myasthenia gravis and other antibody-mediated diseases

Exp Neurol. 2015 Aug;270:66-71. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2015.01.011. Epub 2015 Mar 14.


The increasing demand on diagnostic assays that are sensitive and specific for pathogenic antibodies, and the interest in identifying new antigens, prompted the development of cell-based assays for the detection of autoantibodies in myasthenia gravis and other autoimmune disorders. Cell-based assays were initially used to show that clustering the AChR improved the positivity in myasthenia gravis, and similar assays have now been applied to detection of antibodies to neuromuscular junction candidate proteins such as LRP4 and agrin. In addition cell-based assays have been used in the routine detection of antibodies to proteins expressed on the surface of neurons (NMDAR, LGI1, CASPR2, AMPAR, GABA-A/B, GlyR, and DPPX) and glia (AQP4, MOG). Here, we summarize the findings in myasthenia and discuss the advantages, disadvantages and controversial issues of using cell-based assays in the detection of these antibodies, and their relevance to the testing of preclinical models of disease.

Keywords: Acetylcholine receptor; Agrin; Cell based assay; ColQ; LRP4; MuSK; Neuronal surface antibodies; Seronegative MG.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Autoantibodies / analysis*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / diagnosis
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Biological Assay / methods*
  • Humans
  • Myasthenia Gravis / diagnosis*
  • Myasthenia Gravis / immunology
  • Transfection


  • Autoantibodies