Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disorder affecting neuromuscular junctions that has been associated with a small increased risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Here, we describe a retrospective series of seven cases with a concomitant diagnosis of ALS and myasthenia gravis, collected among the 18 French reference centers for ALS in a twelve year period. After careful review, only six patients strictly met the diagnostic criteria for both ALS and myasthenia gravis. In these patients, limb onset of ALS was reported in five (83%) cases. Localization of myasthenia gravis initial symptoms was ocular in three (50%) cases, generalized in two (33%) and bulbar in one (17%). Median delay between onset of the two conditions was 19 months (6-319 months). Anti-acetylcholine receptor antibodies testing was positive in all cases. All patients were treated with riluzole and one had an associated immune-mediated disease. In the one last ALS case, the final diagnosis was false-positivity for anti-acetylcholine receptor antibodies. The co-occurrence of ALS and myasthenia gravis is rare and requires strict diagnostic criteria. Its demonstration needs thoughtful interpretation of electrophysiological results and exclusion of false positivity for myasthenia gravis antibody testing in some ALS cases. This association may be triggered by a dysfunction of adaptive immunity.
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Myasthenia gravis
- Neuromuscular transmission