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January 1978

Binding of Iodine 125 α-Bungarotoxin to the Thymus of Mice

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, Brain Research Institute, Niigata University, Niigata, Japan.

Arch Neurol. 1978;35(1):31-32. doi:10.1001/archneur.1978.00500250035007

• α-Bungarotoxin is known to bind with nicotinic acetylcholine receptors of skeletal muscle. Binding of iodine 125-labeled α-bungarotoxin to the murine thymus, muscle, and liver was estimated. The toxin was bound to the muscle. The thymus was also capable of binding a considerable amount of the toxin, and the binding was obviously blocked by tubocurarine chloride. Binding to the liver, an organ containing no nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, was very slight. These results may indicate the presence of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the thymus, which could have implications in the pathogenesis of myasthenia gravis. Degenerating myoid cells and their receptors may represent autoantigens that induce an immunological cross-reaction with the receptors of skeletal muscles, giving rise to myasthenia gravis.

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