Cyclosporin A (CsA) is an immunosuppressive agent that has recently been used to prevent rejection of transplanted tissues. The effects of CsA treatment of rats with experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis (EAMG), an antibody-mediated autoimmune disorder of acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) at neuromuscular junctions, have been studied. CsA treatment at the time of primary immunization suppressed the antibody responses to AChR virtually completely. Following 12 weeks of CsA, the AChR-immunized rats responded like naive controls to a further challenge of AChR. Treatment of ongoing EAMG resulted in a reduction of AChR antibody by more than 50%. The secondary response to a challenge of AChR was prevented by CsA treatment, but a very large challenge dose in adjuvant partially overwhelmed the effect of CsA. CsA treatment also prevented the loss of AChRs at neuromuscular junctions, as compared with untreated EAMG controls (P < 0.02). The efficacy of CsA in suppressing ongoing and secondary hetero- and autoimmune responses against AChR in EAMG encourages its ultimate application in autoimmune diseases of man, such as MG. Its usefulness will depend on the ability to determine effective doses of CsA that are well tolerated.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine