Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome: the lack of short-term in vitro effects of serum factors on neuromuscular transmission.
Serum was obtained from 7 patients with the Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LES), 3 patients with small-cell carcinoma of the lung (SCCL), and 9 healthy control subjects. Serum samples were applied in vitro to the rat neuromuscular junction (for 1-3 h for control LES sera; 4 h for SCCL sera), following which the pre- and postjunctional physiological effects of serum factors were studied in the presence of 10 mM [Mg2+]o. All sera produced a marked reduction in the frequency of spontaneous miniature end-plate potentials (MEPPs), while causing slight to moderate changes in MEPP amplitude. There were no consistent changes in the quantum content of the impulse-evoked end-plate potentials, though the serum from one LES patient significantly and reversibly inhibited the evoked quantal release. No significant effect was found when a human intercostal muscle was exposed to serum from another LES patient for 2 h. Therefore, when applied in vitro on a short-term basis, the putative LES autoantibodies do not consistently react with voltage-dependent calcium channels in the motor nerve terminal and thus fail to reproduce the physiologic abnormality of the syndrome. We suggest that the pathogenic IgG molecules may require more than 3h of incubation in order to gain access to, and inhibit the function of, the prejunctional Ca2+ channels.
Kim, YI; Sanders, DB; Johns, TR; Phillips, LH; Smith, RE
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