Clinical features, pathogenesis, and treatment of myasthenia gravis: a supplement to the Guidelines of the German Neurological Society
Patients with autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome type I (APS I) or acquired thymoma-associated myasthenia gravis (MG) surprisingly share several common features, including defective expression of the transcription factor AIRE and autoantibodies against type I interferons. Here, we have adapted and validated the radioligand-binding assay we recently developed against 35S-Met-interferon-ω, for rapid and specific screening for autoantibodies against interferons-α2 and -α8. We then investigated their potential for diagnosis and for predicting clinical manifestations in patients with APS I and different subgroups of MG. Autoantibodies against interferons-ω, -α2, and -α8 occurred more often in patients with APS I (100%) and MG with thymoma (73%) than in late-onset MG (39%) and early-onset MG (5%). These autoantibodies showed preferences for interferon-ω in APS I and for the interferon-αs in MG, hinting at thymic aberrations in both groups. The exact profile of type I interferon antibodies may indicate MG subtype and may hint at thymoma recurrence.