In order to investigate a pathogenic role of germinal centers which appear in the hyperplastic thymus of myasthenia gravis (MG) patients, we performed an immunohistochemical study using various monoclonal antibodies including CD23. In contrast with tonsilar germinal centers from non-MG individuals. CD23 was strongly and diffusely expressed in the whole area of germinal centers of MG thymi, including the outer zone. In addition, we measured the serum level of soluble CD23 (sCD23) in MG patients at various clinical stages. The high serum sCD23 levels, which were noted in the unthymectomized patients, fell to within normal range over 5 years after thymectomy, and the decline of serum sCD23 correlated well with clinical improvement. CD23 is thought to be responsible for preventing unselected germinal center B cells from entering apoptosis and, in turn, leads to the survival of auto-reactive B cell clones.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy
- Clinical Neurology