Lambert‐eaton myasthenic syndrome IgG depletes presynaptic membrane active zone particles by antigenic modulation

Alexandre Nagel, Andrew G. Engel, Bethan Lang, John Newsom‐Davis, Tadahiro Fukuoka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


The Lambert‐Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS) is an autoimmune disease that can be transmitted from human to mouse with immunoglobulin G (IgG). Electrophysiological studies indicate that LEMS IgG acts on presynaptic voltage‐sensitive calcium channels, probably reducing their number, and freeze‐fracture electron microscopy demonstrates that LEMS IgG has an effect on the presynaptic active zone paticles, which represent putative voltage‐sensitive calcium channels. The active zone particles, normally arranged in double parallel rows, move closer together, form clusters, and are reduced in number. The morphological data suggest modulation of the active zone particles cross‐linked by LEMS IgG. If this were the case, then only divalent LEMS IgG and F(ab')2 should alter the deployment of active zone particles and moNovemberalent Fab should be without effect. To test this hypothesis, mouse diaphragms were exposed to control and LEMS IgG and IgG fragments in organ culture for 24 hours and then studied by quantitative freeze‐fracture electron microscopy. Divalent LEMS IgG and F(ab')2 aggregated and depleted the active zone particles, whereas moNovemberalent Fab had no effect. The findings reconfirm that the active zone particles are targets of LEMS IgG and are direct evidence for modulation of the particles by LEMS IgG. The findings are in harmony with parallel electrophysiological studies of the effects of LEMS IgG fragments on transmitter release in the same diaphragm muscles (Lang et al, J Physiol 1987;390:173P).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)552-558
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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