Myasthenia Gravis – When the Muscles & Nerves Don’t Talk

Nerves send vital signals to muscles throughout the body. When these chemical signals don’t interact with muscles normally, one possible result is profound muscle weakness. A unique disease caused by this very scenario is called myasthenia gravis, and has been documents in dogs, cats, and humans. This week I share some helpful information about this interesting ailment. Happy reading!

Myasthenia Gravis – What is it?

Muscles are controlled by nerves, but nerves don’t directly connect to the muscles. There is a small gap between them – this is called a neuromuscular junction. Electrical signals travel through nerves until they reach the neuromuscular junction, and somehow the signal must jump the gap from nerve to muscle. This jump is facilitated by a chemical messenger called acetylcholine. This chemical is released from the nerve, flows across the neuromuscular junction, and attaches to unique receptors on the muscle like a key fitting into a lock. In patients with myasthenia gravis, the communication between nerve and muscle is abnormal. To view a high-level review of the the neuromuscular junction.

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