Electrophysiological analysis of neuromuscular synaptic function in myasthenia gravis patients and animal models

Jaap J. Plomp*, Marco Morsch, William D. Phillips, Jan J G M Verschuuren

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    36 Citations (Scopus)


    Study of the electrophysiological function of the neuromuscular junction (NMJ) is instrumental in the understanding of the symptoms and pathophysiology of myasthenia gravis (MG), an autoimmune disorder characterized by fluctuating and fatigable muscle weakness. Most patients have autoantibodies to the acetylcholine receptor at the NMJ. However, in recent years autoantibodies to other crucial postsynaptic membrane proteins have been found in previously 'seronegative' MG patients. Electromyographical recording of compound and single-fibre muscle action potentials provides a crucial in vivo method to determine neuromuscular transmission failure while ex vivo (miniature) endplate potential recordings can reveal the precise synaptic impairment. Here we will review these electrophysiological methods used to assess NMJ function and discuss their application and typical results found in the diagnostic and experimental study of patients and animal models of the several forms of MG.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)41-54
    Number of pages14
    JournalExperimental Neurology
    Early online date23 Jan 2015
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015


    • Acetylcholine receptor
    • Electromyography
    • Compound muscle action potential
    • Electrophysiology
    • End plate
    • Muscle-specific kinase
    • Mouse models
    • Myasthenia gravis
    • Neuromuscular junction
    • Synapse


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