Autoimmune aetiology for myasthenic (Eaton-Lambert) syndrome

Lancet. 1981 Aug 1;2(8240):224-6. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(81)90474-8.


The myasthenic (Eaton-Lambert) syndrome, associated with carcinoma of the bronchus in one patient and with immunological disorders in two others, improved after plasma exchange--observations supported by electromyographic evidence in two cases. Prednisolone and azathioprine treatment led to almost complete remission in one of the non-neoplastic cases and to improvement in the other. The IgG fraction of plasma from all three patients, injected daily (10 mg) into mice for 37-77 days, significantly reduced the initial compound muscle action potential and the quantal content of the end-plate potential measured in the diaphragm, when compared with control human IgG. These results indicate that an IgG autoantibody, binding to nerve terminal determinants, may be responsible for the disorder of neuromuscular transmission in the myasthenic syndrome, and that immunosuppressive drugs may be useful in treating the nonneoplastic form of the disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autoimmune Diseases / complications*
  • Bronchial Neoplasms / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myasthenia Gravis / complications
  • Myasthenia Gravis / etiology*
  • Myasthenia Gravis / immunology
  • Plasma Exchange
  • Syndrome


  • Immunosuppressive Agents