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To identify cell-surface antibodies in patients with neuromyotonia and to describe the main clinical implications. Sera of 3 patients with thymoma-associated neuromyotonia and myasthenia gravis were used to immunoprecipitate and characterize neuronal cell-surface antigens using reported techniques. The clinical significance of antibodies against precipitated proteins was assessed with sera of 98 patients (neuromyotonia 46, myasthenia gravis 52, thymoma 42; 33 of them with overlapping syndromes) and 219 controls (other neurologic diseases, cancer, and healthy volunteers). Immunoprecipitation studies identified 3 targets, including the Netrin-1 receptors DCC (deleted in colorectal carcinoma) and UNC5A (uncoordinated-5A) as well as Caspr2 (contactin-associated protein-like 2). Cell-based assays with these antigens showed that among the indicated patients, 9 had antibodies against Netrin-1 receptors (7 with additional Caspr2 antibodies) and 5 had isolated Caspr2 antibodies. Only one of the 219 controls had isolated Caspr2 antibodies with relapsing myelitis episodes. Among patients with neuromyotonia and/or myasthenia gravis, the presence of Netrin-1 receptor or Caspr2 antibodies predicted thymoma (p < 0.05). Coexisting Caspr2 and Netrin-1 receptor antibodies were associated with concurrent thymoma, myasthenia gravis, and neuromyotonia, often with Morvan syndrome (p = 0.009). Expression of DCC, UNC5A, and Caspr2 proteins was demonstrated in paraffin-embedded thymoma samples (3) and normal thymus. Antibodies against Netrin-1 receptors (DCC and UNC5a) and Caspr2 often coexist and associate with thymoma in patients with neuromyotonia and myasthenia gravis. This study provides Class III evidence that antibodies against Netrin-1 receptors can identify patients with thymoma (sensitivity 21.4%, specificity 100%). © 2017 American Academy of Neurology.


Estefanía Torres-Vega, Nuria Mancheño, Arantxa Cebrián-Silla, Vicente Herranz-Pérez, María J Chumillas, Germán Moris, Bastien Joubert, Jérôme Honnorat, Teresa Sevilla, Juan J Vílchez, Josep Dalmau, Francesc Graus, José Manuel García-Verdugo, Luis Bataller. Netrin-1 receptor antibodies in thymoma-associated neuromyotonia with myasthenia gravis. Neurology. 2017 Mar 28;88(13):1235-1242

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PMID: 28251919

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