Anti-acetylcholine receptor (AChR) antibody was undetectable in 26/153 (17%) sera from myasthenia gravis patients assayed by standard RIA using human acetylcholine receptor. Eight of these were found to be positive with a modified protocol using a mixture of normal and denervated AChR, reducing the proportion of "negative" sera to 12%. Many of these were from patients with a short history; two such patients later developed low positive values. Anti-AChR without clinical evidence of myasthenia was found in one of three monozygotic twins of myasthenia gravis patients, and in one of thirty other first degree relatives of a further 17 patients. Anti-AChR is a valuable and highly specific diagnostic test which, with the assay used here, is positive in about 88% of patients with clinical features of myasthenia gravis.
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