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Detection of Antibodies against the Acetylcholine Receptor in Patients with Myasthenia Gravis: A Comparison of Two Enzyme Immunoassays and a Fixed Cell-Based Assay.

The detection of serum anti-acetylcholine receptor (AChR) antibodies is currently an important tool for diagnosing myasthenia gravis (MG) since they are present in about 85% of MG patients. Many serological tests are now available. Nevertheless, results from these tests can be different in some patients. The aim of this study is to compare the sensitivity of a commercially available fixed cell-based assay (F-CBA) to that of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kits for anti-AChR detection in patients with a diagnosis of MG. Overall, 143 patients with a confirmed MG diagnosis were included in the study. The detection and measurement of serum anti-AChR antibodies were performed by three analytical methods, namely, a competitive ELISA (cELISA), an indirect ELISA (iELISA), and an F-CBA, according to the manufacturers' instructions. Anti-AChR antibody titers were positive in 94/143 (66%) using the cELISA, in 75/143 (52%) using the iELISA and in 61/143 (43%) using the F-CBA (adult and/or fetal). Method agreement, evaluated by concordant pairs and Cohen's kappa, was as follows: cELISA-iELISA: 110/143 (77%), k = 0.53 (95%CI 0.40-0.66); cELISA-F-CBA: 108/143 (76%), k = 0.53 (95%CI 0.41-0.66); iELISA-F-CBA: 121/143 (85%), k = 0.70 (95%CI 0.57-0.80). Our findings show that the cELISA has better analytical performance than the iELISA and F-CBA. However, the iELISA and F-CBA show the highest concordance.

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