IMR Press / FBL / Volume 22 / Issue 7 / DOI: 10.2741/4532

Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.

Open Access Review

Trans-synaptic homeostasis at the myasthenic neuromuscular junction

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1 Department of Neurology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands

Academic Editors: Joseph J McArdle, Vishwendra Patel

Front. Biosci. (Landmark Ed) 2017, 22(7), 1033–1051; https://doi.org/10.2741/4532
Published: 1 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular basis of synapse homeostasis and disease)
Abstract

Properly sustained impulse transmission at the neuromuscular junction (NMJ) is crucial for successful muscle contraction. To guarantee this, NMJs not only possess a considerable safety factor in transmission but also have the ability to adjust the presynaptic acetylcholine release level to cope with any changes in the postsynaptic neurotransmitter sensitivity. This review will provide overview on the discovery and characterization of this synaptic homeostatic mechanism, especially in the condition of the neuromuscular disorder myasthenia gravis (MG) where the postsynaptic transmitter sensitivity at the NMJ becomes severely reduced due to autoimmune attack of acetylcholine receptors. Because homeostatic signalling and adaptation is presumably maximally active in this condition, NMJs from MG animal models are important study objects. Although candidate post- and presynaptic factors as well as the retrograde signals have been proposed, the homeostatic mechanism at the MG NMJ is still incompletely understood. Further identification and functional characterization of key factors is important because these may form new therapeutic targets in MG.

Keywords
Neuromuscular Junction
Synapse
Homeostasis
Myasthenia Gravis
Acetylcholine Receptor
Neurotransmitter Release
Review
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