Myasthenia gravis (MG) is an autoimmune disease caused by antibodies targeting the neuromuscular junction of skeletal muscles. Triple-seronegative MG (tSN-MG, without detectable AChR, MuSK and LRP4 antibodies), which accounts for ~ 10% of MG patients, presents a serious gap in MG diagnosis and complicates differential diagnosis of similar disorders. Several AChR antibody positive patients (AChR-MG) also have antibodies against titin, usually detected by ELISA. We have developed a very sensitive radioimmunoprecipitation assay (RIPA) for titin antibodies, by which many previously negative samples were found positive, including several from tSN-MG patients. The validity of the RIPA results was confirmed by western blots. Using this RIPA we screened 667 MG sera from 13 countries; as expected, AChR-MG patients had the highest frequency of titin antibodies (40.9%), while MuSK-MG and LRP4-MG patients were positive in 14.6% and 16.4% respectively. Most importantly, 13.4% (50/372) of the tSN-MG patients were also titin antibody positive. None of the 121 healthy controls or the 90 myopathy patients, and only 3.6% (7/193) of other neurological disease patients were positive. We thus propose that the present titin antibody RIPA is a useful tool for serological MG diagnosis of tSN patients.
- Myasthenia gravis
- Radioimmunoprecipitation assay