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In generalized myasthenia gravis (MG) patients without detectable acetylcholine receptor (AChR) antibodies (SNMG), the thymus is often reported as "normally involuted." We analyzed thymic compartments in 67 patients with generalized MG, with AChR antibodies (AChR+, n = 23), with muscle-specific kinase (MuSK) antibodies (MuSK+, n = 14) or with neither (MuSK-, n = 30), and in 11 non-MG controls. Four of 14 MuSK+ thymi had rare small germinal centers, but overall they were not different from age-matched controls. However, approximately 75% MuSK- samples showed lymph node-type infiltrates similar to those in AChR+ patients, but with fewer germinal centers. These variations may explain some apparent differences in responses to thymectomy in SNMG.

Original publication




Journal article


Ann Neurol

Publication Date





444 - 448


Adolescent, Adult, Antibodies, Antigens, CD20, Case-Control Studies, Child, Female, Humans, Immunohistochemistry, Male, Middle Aged, Myasthenia Gravis, Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases, Receptors, Cholinergic, Receptors, Complement 3b, Thymus Gland