Myasthenia gravis: Steroid-Induced Effects on Lymphocyte Subpopulations in Myasthenia gravis
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Lymphocyte subpopulations from patients with myasthenia gravis were evaluated during chronic steroid therapy. A marked lymphocytopenia (10-70%) was initially (day 3-21) noticed as well as a preferential depletion of thymus-derived cells which paralleled the clinical deterioration. Thus there was a relative increase in B cells, although their absolute number remained rather constant. These changes were reverted within 2-4 weeks in spite of continuous treatment. These findings are compatible with a release of myasthenic factors (anti-acetylcholine receptor antibodies?) during the initial steroid-induced cell damage, the long-term beneficial effects being due to loss or suppression of autoreactive helper t cells.
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