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Background Identification of autoantibodies has defined distinct clinico-immuno-pathological subtypes of myasthenia gravis (MG) such as AChR-antibody-positive-MG and MuSK-antibody-positive-MG. The use of more sensitive assays such as the cell-based assay (CBA) is expected to reduce the proportion of seronegative-MG. We studied the seroprevalence of AChR and MuSK antibodies using both radioimmunoprecipitation (RIA) and CBA amongst MG patients in Sri Lanka and related their antibody status to their clinical subtypes and severity. Methods 113 patients with MG attending Neurology units in the district of Colombo were studied. Clinical data were obtained using an interviewer-administered questionnaire and medical records. The severity of MG was assessed according to MGFA clinical grading. RIA and CBA were used to detect serum AChR and MuSK antibodies. Patients with other neurological diseases were recruited as controls. Results We detected either AChRAb (85%) or MuSKAb (6.2%) in 91.2% of MG patients. Complementing the RIA with the CBA improved the diagnostic power of detecting AChRAbs by 21% and MuSKAbs by 77%. The clinical characteristics and the occurrence of thymic pathology were similar to other populations except for a male preponderance (1.5:1). The AChRAb titer appeared to parallel the clinical severity. Seven of 11 (63.6%) patients with AChRAb-negative generalized MG had MuSK-MG. Conclusions Clinical characteristics of MG in Sri Lanka are similar to other populations. Complementing the RIA with CBA increases the diagnostic power of detecting pathogenic autoantibodies. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of the Neurological Sciences

Publication Date





82 - 87