Correlation of antimuscarinic acetylcholine receptor antibody titers and antidesmoglein antibody titers with the severity of disease in patients with pemphigus

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Acetylcholine receptor (AchR) antibody levels significantly correlate with disease severity at initial pemphigus diagnosis and during follow-up. However, it is not clear if they are just an epiphenomenon or a potential trigger of the known pathogenic process in pemphigus vulgaris.


We sought to assess the changes in anti-muscarinic (M3) AchR and anti-desmoglein (Dsg) antibody titers with therapy.


This was a hospital-based cohort study involving 45 patients with active pemphigus. Disease was graded clinically using Pemphigus Disease Area Index. Antibody titers were estimated using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay at baseline, 3 months, and 15 months.


All patients with pemphigus had significantly higher anti-M3 AchR titers when compared with a control group. Only 95.5% of patients had anti-Dsg1 antibodies and 84.4% of patients had anti-Dsg3 antibodies. A statistically significant reduction in all 3 antibody titers from baseline to follow-up with treatment was observed. There was a good correlation between all 3 antibody titer and Pemphigus Disease Area Index score at baseline and after therapy and between anti-M3 AchR and anti-Dsg1 antibody titers.


Sample size was small and follow-up period was short.


Anti-M3 AchR antibodies are strongly associated with pemphigus. They significantly correlate with disease activity and their titers decline with therapy along with anti-Dsg antibodies.

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