Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Frontiers in Physiology




The differential susceptibility of skeletal muscle by myasthenia gravis (MG) is not well understood. We utilized RNA expression profiling of extraocular muscle (EOM), diaphragm (DIA), and extensor digitorum (EDL) of rats with experimental autoimmune MG (EAMG) to evaluate the hypothesis that muscles respond differentially to injury produced by EAMG. EAMG was induced in female Lewis rats by immunization with acetylcholine receptor purified from the electric organ of the Torpedo. Six weeks later after rats had developed weakness and serum antibodies directed against the AChR, animals underwent euthanasia and RNA profiling performed on DIA, EDL, and EOM. Profiling results were validated by qPCR. Across the three muscles between the experiment and control groups, three hundred and fifty-nine probes (1.16%) with greater than 2 fold changes in expression in 7 of 9 series pairwise comparisons from 31,090 probes were identified with approximately two-thirds being increased. The three muscles shared 16 genes with increased expression and 6 reduced expression. Functional annotation demonstrated that these common expression changes fell predominantly into categories of metabolism, stress response, and signaling. Evaluation of specific gene function indicated that EAMG led to a change to oxidative metabolism. Genes related to muscle regeneration and suppression of immune response were activated. Evidence of a differential immune response among muscles was not evident. Each muscle had a distinct RNA profile but with commonality in gene categories expressed that are focused on muscle repair, moderation of inflammation, and oxidative metabolism.


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