Prevention of experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis by manipulation of the immune network with a complementary peptide for the acetylcholine receptor

Academic Article


  • Myasthenia gravis (MG) and experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis (EAMG) are caused, in part, by the production of autoantibodies against the main immunogenic region, amino acids 61-76, of the α chain of the acetylcholine receptor (AChR). Theoretically, induction of anti-idiotypic (Id) antibodies (Abs) should be a highly specific treatment for the disease by virtue of their potential ability to neutralize Abs to the AChR. We have tested this idea by attempting to evoke such anti-Id Abs by immunization with a peptide (termed RhCA 67-16) encoded by RNA complementary to the Torpedo AChR main immunogenic region and determining whether such treatment will prevent the development of EAMG. Immunization with RhCA 67-16, but not a control peptide termed PBM 9-1, was found to elicit the production of anti- Id Abs that blocked recognition of native Torpedo AChR by its Ab. This anti- Id Ab activity was ablated by incubation of the anti-RhCA 67-16 serum with RhCA 67-16, but not PBM 9-1, prior to the assay for Ab binding to AChR. The anti-Id Ab-inducing activity of RhCA 67-16 was confirmed by the ability to produce a rat monoclonal Ab to RhCA 67-16 that showed anti-Id activity for polyclonal rat Ab reactive with AChR residues 67-76. Most importantly, RhCA 67-16 immunization also prevented the development of EAMG in Lewis rats challenged with Torpedo AChR (25% incidence versus 90% in the controls) and diminished the AChR Ab levels in animals injected with low doses of AChR. Our results suggest a therapy for MG and perhaps other autoimmune diseases through the induction of anti-Id Abs by peptide immunogens.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 10880476
  • Author List

  • Araga S; LeBoeuf RD; Blalock JE
  • Start Page

  • 8747
  • End Page

  • 8751
  • Volume

  • 90
  • Issue

  • 18