Congenital Myasthenic Syndromes: a Clinical and Treatment Approach.

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Congenital Myasthenic Syndromes: a Clinical and Treatment Approach.

Curr Treat Options Neurol. 2018 Jul 21;20(9):36

Authors: Farmakidis C, Pasnoor M, Barohn RJ, Dimachkie MM

Abstract
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Congenital myasthenia syndromes are clinically and genetically heterogeneous but treatable conditions. Careful selection of drug therapy is paramount as the same drug can be effective, ineffective, and even harmful in different congenital myasthenia syndromes. The purpose of this article is to review current treatment options for these conditions.
RECENT FINDINGS: Next-generation sequencing has accelerated the discovery of new genes and facilitated the description of novel congenital myasthenic syndromes. Retrospective therapy data from these newly identified syndromes has provided additional insight on the management of these conditions. Cholinergic agents, β-adrenergic agonists, and open-channel blockers remain the principal treatment modalities, and their optimal use depends on an accurate genetic diagnosis and the timely clinical recognition of the disease. In particular, pyridostigmine, usually a first-line agent, should be avoided in DOK7, acetylcholinesterase deficiency, and slow-channel congenital myasthenic syndromes. Beta-adrenergic agonists have been recognized as a first-line agent for a number of congenital myasthenic syndromes, particularly DOK7 and acetylcholinesterase deficiency, whereas long-lived open-channel blockers of the acetylcholine receptor (AChR) ion channel are indicated for the slow-channel congenital myasthenic syndrome. Beta-adrenergic agonists additionally have an important adjunct treatment for congenital myasthenia syndrome due to glycosylation defects, fast channel syndrome, AChR deficiency, and choline acetyltransferase deficiency (ChaT) and therefore may be particularly important in the treatment of syndromes due to defects in motor endplate development and repair. Unlike in autoimmune myasthenia gravis, there is no role for immunotherapy in congenital myasthenic syndromes. If available, a genetic diagnosis should drive the choice for a first-line treatment agent between cholinergic agents, β-adrenergic agents, and open-channel blockers. Evaluation and supportive care at centers with experience in these rare syndromes likely are paramount in achieving optimal outcomes. Furthermore, gene discovery for congenital myasthenic syndromes has provided novel insights on the role of protein glycosylation, endplate maintenance and repair, and synaptic vesicle exocytosis in neuromuscular transmission. These insights may lead to new therapeutic strategies in both congenital and autoimmune myasthenic diseases in the future.

PMID: 30032336 [PubMed]

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