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Myasthenia gravis is a relatively rare neurological disease that is associated with loss of the acetylcholine receptors that initiate muscle contraction. This results in muscle weakness, which can be life-threatening. The story of how both the physiological basis of the disease and the role of acetylcholine-receptor-specific antibodies were determined is a classic example of the application of basic science to clinical medicine, and it has provided a model for defining other antibody-mediated disorders of the peripheral and central nervous systems.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Rev Immunol

Publication Date





797 - 804


Autoantibodies, Autoimmunity, History, 17th Century, History, 19th Century, History, 20th Century, Humans, Immunity, Cellular, Models, Immunological, Myasthenia Gravis, Neuromuscular Junction, Receptors, Cholinergic, Synaptic Transmission