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Epidemiology of myasthenia gravis with anti-muscle specific kinase antibodies in the Netherlands
  1. Erik H Niks1,
  2. Jan B M Kuks2,
  3. Jan J G M Verschuuren1
  1. 1Department of Neurology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Neurology, University Medical Centre Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to:
 Erik H Niks
 Department of Neurology, J3-R 166, Leiden University Medical Centre, PO Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, The Netherlands; ehniks{at}lumc.nl

Abstract

The epidemiology of myasthenia gravis subtypes and the frequency of antibodies to muscle-specific kinase (MuSK) was studied in patients with generalised myasthenia gravis without anti-acetylcholine receptor antibodies who had an onset of symptoms between 1990 and 2004 in a well-defined region in the Netherlands. The nationwide prevalence and incidence of myasthenia gravis with anti-MuSK antibodies were also studied. MuSK antibodies were found in 22% of patients with generalised myasthenia gravis without anti-acetylcholine receptor antibodies. Nationwide, 35 patients with MuSK myasthenia gravis were identified, yielding a prevalence of 1.9 per million (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.22 to 2.59) and an annual incidence 0.10 per million person-years (95% CI 0.06 to 0.14).

  • AChR, acetylcholine receptor
  • AChR Ab− MG, myasthenia gravis without anti-acetylcholine receptor antibodies
  • EMG, electromyography
  • MuSK, muscle-specific kinase
  • MuSK Ab+ MG, myasthenia gravis with anti-muscle specific kinase antibodies

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Footnotes

  • Funding: EHN was supported by the Prinses Beatrix Fonds. This project was supported by the Foundation “De Drie Lichten” in The Netherlands.

  • Competing interests: None.

  • Published Online First 20 October 2006

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