Autoimmune autonomic ganglionopathy: IgG effects on ganglionic acetylcholine receptor current

Z. Wang, P. A. Low, J. Jordan, R. Freeman, C. H. Gibbons, C. Schroeder, P. Sandroni, S. Vernino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Autoimmune autonomic ganglionopathy (AAG) is an acquired immune-mediated form of diffuse autonomic failure. Many patients have serum antibodies that bind to the ganglionic acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) that mediate fast synaptic transmission in autonomic ganglia. Previous clinical studies and observations in animal models suggest that AAG is an antibody-mediated neurologic disorder. METHODS: Using whole-cell patch clamp techniques, we recorded ganglionic AChR currents in cultured human IMR-32 cells and examined the effects of bath application of IgG derived from patients with AAG. RESULTS: IgG from seven patients with AAG all produced a progressive decline in whole-cell ganglionic AChR current, whereas IgG from control subjects had no effect. The effect was abolished at low temperature. Fab antibody fragments had no effect unless a secondary antibody was added concurrently. IgG from one patient also produced a more immediate reduction of ganglionic AChR current. CONCLUSIONS: The characteristics of antibody-mediated inhibition of ganglionic acetylcholine receptor (AChR) current are consistent with modulation and blocking of the membrane AChR, analogous to the effects of muscle AChR antibodies in myasthenia gravis. Our observations demonstrate that antibodies in patients with autoimmune autonomic ganglionopathy (AAG) cause physiologic changes in ganglionic AChR function and confirm that AAG is an antibody-mediated disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1917-1921
Number of pages5
Issue number22
StatePublished - May 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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