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      Immunopathogenesis in Myasthenia Gravis and Neuromyelitis Optica

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          Abstract

          Myasthenia gravis (MG) and neuromyelitis optica (NMO) are autoimmune channelopathies of the peripheral neuromuscular junction (NMJ) and central nervous system (CNS) that are mainly mediated by humoral immunity against the acetylcholine receptor (AChR) and aquaporin-4 (AQP4), respectively. The diseases share some common features, including genetic predispositions, environmental factors, the breakdown of tolerance, the collaboration of T cells and B cells, imbalances in T helper 1 (Th1)/Th2/Th17/regulatory T cells, aberrant cytokine and antibody secretion, and complement system activation. However, some aspects of the immune mechanisms are unique. Both targets (AChR and AQP4) are expressed in the periphery and CNS, but MG mainly affects the NMJ in the periphery outside of CNS, whereas NMO preferentially involves the CNS. Inflammatory cells, including B cells and macrophages, often infiltrate the thymus but not the target—muscle in MG, whereas the infiltration of inflammatory cells, mainly polymorphonuclear leukocytes and macrophages, in NMO, is always observed in the target organ—the spinal cord. A review of the common and discrepant characteristics of these two autoimmune channelopathies may expand our understanding of the pathogenic mechanism of both disorders and assist in the development of proper treatments in the future.

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          Most cited references 136

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          The complex role of estrogens in inflammation.

          There is still an unresolved paradox with respect to the immunomodulating role of estrogens. On one side, we recognize inhibition of bone resorption and suppression of inflammation in several animal models of chronic inflammatory diseases. On the other hand, we realize the immunosupportive role of estrogens in trauma/sepsis and the proinflammatory effects in some chronic autoimmune diseases in humans. This review examines possible causes for this paradox. This review delineates how the effects of estrogens are dependent on criteria such as: 1) the immune stimulus (foreign antigens or autoantigens) and subsequent antigen-specific immune responses (e.g., T cell inhibited by estrogens vs. activation of B cell); 2) the cell types involved during different phases of the disease; 3) the target organ with its specific microenvironment; 4) timing of 17beta-estradiol administration in relation to the disease course (and the reproductive status of a woman); 5) the concentration of estrogens; 6) the variability in expression of estrogen receptor alpha and beta depending on the microenvironment and the cell type; and 7) intracellular metabolism of estrogens leading to important biologically active metabolites with quite different anti- and proinflammatory function. Also mentioned are systemic supersystems such as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, the sensory nervous system, and the sympathetic nervous system and how they are influenced by estrogens. This review reinforces the concept that estrogens have antiinflammatory but also proinflammatory roles depending on above-mentioned criteria. It also explains that a uniform concept as to the action of estrogens cannot be found for all inflammatory diseases due to the enormous variable responses of immune and repair systems.
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            Mammalian nicotinic acetylcholine receptors: from structure to function.

            The classical studies of nicotine by Langley at the turn of the 20th century introduced the concept of a "receptive substance," from which the idea of a "receptor" came to light. Subsequent studies aided by the Torpedo electric organ, a rich source of muscle-type nicotinic receptors (nAChRs), and the discovery of alpha-bungarotoxin, a snake toxin that binds pseudo-irreversibly to the muscle nAChR, resulted in the muscle nAChR being the best characterized ligand-gated ion channel hitherto. With the advancement of functional and genetic studies in the late 1980s, the existence of nAChRs in the mammalian brain was confirmed and the realization that the numerous nAChR subtypes contribute to the psychoactive properties of nicotine and other drugs of abuse and to the neuropathology of various diseases, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and schizophrenia, has since emerged. This review provides a comprehensive overview of these findings and the more recent revelations of the impact that the rich diversity in function and expression of this receptor family has on neuronal and nonneuronal cells throughout the body. Despite these numerous developments, our understanding of the contributions of specific neuronal nAChR subtypes to the many facets of physiology throughout the body remains in its infancy.
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              Anti-aquaporin-4 antibody is involved in the pathogenesis of NMO: a study on antibody titre.

              NMO-IgG is a disease-specific autoantibody for neuromyelitis optica (NMO) and its target antigen is aquaporin-4 (AQP4) water channel. Recently, we established a sensitive anti-AQP4 antibody assay using human AQP4-transfected cells, which appeared more sensitive than the original NMO-IgG assay. So far, there has been no large-scale study on anti-AQP4 antibody titre in NMO and related disorders. We tested 148 sera of patients with NMO, high-risk syndrome of NMO, multiple sclerosis (MS), clinically isolated syndrome suggestive of MS and miscellaneous diseases. We analysed the relation of anti-AQP4 antibody titres and clinical and laboratory parameters. The sensitivity of anti-AQP4 antibody assay was 91% (95% CI 79-100) for NMO and 85% (65-100) for high-risk syndrome, and the specificity was 100% (91-100) for NMO and high-risk syndrome, that is, none with the other disorders was positive. Among 21 anti-AQP4 antibody-positive cases whose NMO-IgG were tested, 15 were NMO-IgG-positive and 6 were NMO-IgG-negative. Higher anti-AQP4 antibody titres were associated with complete blindness and extensive or large cerebral lesions on MRI. The lengths of spinal cord lesions on MRI were positively correlated with the titres of anti-AQP4 antibody at the nadir of exacerbations. A few patients who had short (approx. one to two vertebral segments) spinal cord lesions on MRI were also seropositive with low anti-AQP4 antibody titres, but did have other clinical and MRI features of NMO. Anti-AQP4 antibody titres became lower after high-dose methylprednisolone, and a follow-up showed anti-AQP4 antibody titres remained low in relapse-free periods under immunosuppression. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)-anti-AQP4 antibody was detected when the serum-antibody titres exceeded 512x, at the ratio of 1 (CSF) to 500 (serum). Using a sensitive assay, the results of the present study suggest that NMO and high-risk syndrome may be essentially anti-AQP4 antibody-associated disorders, and that the anti-AQP4 antibody titres have significant clinical and immunological implications in NMO.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Front Immunol
                Front Immunol
                Front. Immunol.
                Frontiers in Immunology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                1664-3224
                12 December 2017
                2017
                : 8
                Affiliations
                1Key Laboratory of the Ministry of Education for Medicinal Resources and Natural Pharmaceutical Chemistry, National Engineering Laboratory for Resource Development of Endangered Crude Drugs in Northwest China, College of Life Sciences, Shaanxi Normal University , Xi’an, China
                2Tianjin Medical University General Hospital, Tianjin Neurological Institute , Tianjin, China
                Author notes

                Edited by: Lisa Mullen, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, United Kingdom

                Reviewed by: Yolande Richard, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, France; Rui Li, University of Pennsylvania, United States; Ankit Saxena, National Institutes of Health (NIH), United States; Sergio Iván Valdés-Ferrer, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, Mexico; Sermin Genc, Dokuz Eylül University, Turkey

                *Correspondence: Yaping Yan, yaping.yan@ 123456snnu.edu.cn

                Specialty section: This article was submitted to Inflammation, a section of the journal Frontiers in Immunology

                Article
                10.3389/fimmu.2017.01785
                5732908
                Copyright © 2017 Wang and Yan.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 1, Equations: 0, References: 182, Pages: 14, Words: 13255
                Funding
                Funded by: National Natural Science Foundation of China 10.13039/501100001809
                Award ID: 81371372, 81571596
                Categories
                Immunology
                Review

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