J Clin Neurol.  2021 Jul;17(3):400-408. 10.3988/jcn.2021.17.3.400.

Evaluating an In-House Cell-Based Assay for Detecting Antibodies Against Muscle-Specific Tyrosine Kinase in Myasthenia Gravis

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Neurology, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Graduate Program of Nanoscience and Technology, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea

Abstract

Background and Purpose
Detecting antibodies against muscle-specific tyrosine kinase (MuSK Abs) is essential for diagnosing myasthenia gravis (MG). We applied an in-house cellbased assay (CBA) to detect MuSK Abs.
Methods
A stable cell line was generated using a lentiviral vector, which allowed the expression of MuSK tagged with green fluorescent protein in human embryonic kidney 293 (HEK293) cells. Serum and anti-human IgG antibody conjugated with red fluorescence were added. The presence of MuSK Abs was determined based on the fluorescence intensity and their colocalization in fluorescence microscopy. Totals of 218 serum samples collected from 177 patients with MG, 31 with other neuromuscular diseases, and 10 healthy controls were analyzed. The CBA results were compared with those of a radioimmunoprecipitation assay (RIPA) and an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
Results
The MuSK-HEK293 cell line stably expressed MuSK protein. The CBA detected MuSK Abs in 34 (19.2%) of 177 samples obtained from patients with MG and in none of the participants having other neuromuscular diseases or in the healthy controls. The clinical characteristics of the patients with MuSK MG determined based on the CBA were strongly correlated with known clinical features of MuSK MG. There was an almost perfect agreement between the results of the CBA and those of the RIPA (Cohen’s kappa=0.880, p<0.001) and ELISA (Cohen’s kappa=0.982, p<0.001).
Conclusions
The results of the in-house CBA showed excellent agreement with both the RIPA and ELISA. Our in-house CBA can be considered a reliable method for detecting MuSK Abs.

Keyword

myasthenia gravis; muscle-specific tyrosine kinase; cell-based assay; diagnosis
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