The goal of thymectomy as a treatment for myasthenia gravis is to induce remission, or at least improvement, permitting a reduction in immunosuppressive medication. The mechanism by which thymectomy produces benefits in myasthenia gravis is still uncertain. In general, acetylcholine receptor-antibody levels fall after thymectomy, although there are conflicting reports. On theoretical grounds, there are several possible mechanisms. First, removal of the thymus may eliminate a source of continued antigenic stimulation. If the thymic myoid cells are the source of autoantigen then their removal might allow the immune response to subside. Second, thymectomy may remove a reservoir of B cells that are secreting acetylcholine-receptor antibody. Third, thymectomy may is some way correct a disturbance of immune regulation in myasthenia gravis.
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