Description, Disorder and Autoimmune Involvement
Myasthenia Gravis is an autoimmune disorder in which the body creates antibodies against its own nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the neuromuscular junctions. This disorder affects 50 to 125 people per million population, and there are approximately 25,000 reported cases in the United States. Myasthenia gravis is characterized by muscluar weakness and fatigability. Symptoms of myasthenia gravis tend to fluctuate throughout the day and under different environmental and physiological conditions; therefore correct diagnosis of the disorder is often missed or misdiagnosed. Today the people who are diagnosed as having MG have a variety of effective treatments available to them. Death or severe impairment due to the disease is rare, and most patients are able to live normal lives.
The purpose of this site is to discuss myasthenia gravis, and the mechanism by which it affects the body. We will especially focus on the role of the immune system, and its action on the acetylcholine receptor. We will also address treatments available for myasthenic patients.
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Mechanism of the Disease
Animation graphics by Harlan Wallach © copyright 1996
Last updated 6/12/2001