We are proposing to hold the VIIIth International Conference on Myasthenia Gravis in Washington, D>C> in April, 1992, under the auspices of the New York Academy of Sciences. This Conference will be the latest in a series hold at roughly 5 year intervals since 1954, the last 5 with the New York Academy of Sciences. Myasthenia gravis is the phototypic human autoimmune disease since both the antigen and mechanisms of immunopathogenesis are known. Studies of this disease and the models reproduced by deliberate immunization with purified antigen (acetylcholine receptor) have provided insights to analysis of normal and abnormal neuromuscular transmission, to analysis of the antigen and to mechanisms of autoimmunity. Since the last conference, there has been an explosion of new information on the developmental biology of the thymus gland, the molecular biology of T cell receptors, B cell rearrangements which result in antibody specificity and the biochemistry of glycoprotein receptors. All of this information impacts on analysis of mechanisms underlying myasthenia. Myasthenia is known to be characterized by a pathological thymus. Thymectomy is an accepted and very effective therapy. Therefore, review of new information on T cell maturation and selection of T cell receptors within the thymus that mediate tolerance, is directly relevant to myasthenia. We hope that this part of the program will afford new insights to molecular and cellular immunologists, pathologists as well as to those studying myasthenia. Knowledge of the detailed sequence of the acetylcholine receptor is being exploited to study the ion channel and specific T cell epitopes. Pertinent information can be derived from discussion of there membrane glycoprotein receptors. Of particular interest is the voltage-gated calcium channel of pre-synaptic terminals at the neuromuscular junction, which is almost certainly the target antigen in the Lambert-Eaton syndrome. Discussion of this protein and its physiology as well as its localization to small-cell carcinomas of the lung should provide insights into the production of autoimmunity here. Review of these topics should allow discussion the current diagnosis and therapy of both diseases with emphasis on progress in attempts to design more specific therapies. We believe this conference to be timely and widely useful.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Conference (R13)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Neurological Disorders Program Project Review B Committee (NSPB)
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
New York Academy of Sciences
New York
United States
Zip Code