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Test ID: MGLE Myasthenia Gravis/Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome Evaluation, Serum

Ordering Guidance

This test should not be requested in patients who have recently received radioisotopes, therapeutically or diagnostically, because of potential assay interference. The specific waiting period before specimen collection will depend on the isotope administered, the dose given, and the clearance rate in the individual patient. Specimens will be screened for radioactivity prior to analysis. Radioactive specimens received in the laboratory will be held for 1 week and assayed if sufficiently decayed or canceled if radioactivity remains.

Specimen Required

Patient Preparation: For optimal antibody detection, specimen collection is recommended prior to initiation of immunosuppressant medication.

Collection Container/Tube:

Preferred: Red top

Acceptable: Serum gel

Submission Container/Tube: Plastic vial

Specimen Volume: 3 mL

Useful For

Confirming the autoimmune basis of a defect in neuromuscular transmission (eg, myasthenia gravis [MG], Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome [LEMS])


Distinguishing LEMS from autoimmune forms of MG


Providing a quantitative autoantibody baseline for future comparisons in monitoring a patient's clinical course and response to immunomodulatory treatment

Profile Information

Test ID Reporting Name Available Separately Always Performed
MGLEI MG Lambert-Eaton Interpretation, S No Yes
ARBI ACh Receptor (Muscle) Binding Ab Yes Yes
CCPQ P/Q-Type Calcium Channel Ab No Yes

Reflex Tests

Test ID Reporting Name Available Separately Always Performed
ACMFS AChR Modulating Flow Cytometry, S No No
MUSK MuSK Autoantibody, S Yes No

Testing Algorithm

If acetylcholine receptor (AChR)-binding antibodies are greater than 0.02 nmol/L, then AChR muscle modulating antibody will be performed at an additional charge.


If AChR-binding antibodies are 0.02 nmol/L or less, then muscle-specific kinase (MuSK) autoantibody will be performed at an additional charge.


If unable to report AChR binding antibody due to interfering substances, then AChR muscle modulating antibody will be performed at an additional charge.


If unable to report AChR binding antibody due to interfering substances and AChR muscle modulating antibody is negative, MuSK autoantibody will be performed at an additional charge.


For more information see, Myasthenia Gravis/Lambert Eaton Syndrome Testing Algorithm

Method Name

ARBI, CCPQ, MUSK: Radioimmunoassay (RIA)

ACMFS: Flow Cytometry

Reporting Name

MG/LEMS Evaluation, S

Specimen Type


Specimen Minimum Volume

2 mL

Specimen Stability Information

Specimen Type Temperature Time Special Container
Serum Refrigerated (preferred) 28 days
  Frozen  28 days
  Ambient  72 hours

Clinical Information

Myasthenia gravis (MG) and Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS) are acquired autoimmune disorders of neuromuscular transmission. MG is caused by pathogenic autoantibodies binding and potentially removing (modulation) the muscle's nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (AChR) from the surface of the neuromuscular junction. Serologically, the detection of AChR binding antibody provides the best diagnostic sensitivity. However, the presence of both AChR binding and modulating activity improves diagnostic accuracy. A subset of patients who are AChR seronegative will have muscle-specific kinase (MuSK) antibodies.


LEMS is caused by autoantibodies binding to motor nerve terminal's voltage-gated P/Q-type calcium channel. Synaptic transmission fails when autoantibodies cause a critical loss of junctional cation channel proteins that activate the muscle action potential.


Both MG and LEMS can affect children as well as adults, although LEMS is very rare in children. In adults MG is 10 times more frequent than LEMS, but it is sometimes difficult to distinguish the two disorders clinically. Electrophysiological testing is extremely helpful in distinguishing these 2 disorders. MG patients have decrements of compound muscle action potential (CMAP) amplitudes on repetitive stimulation whereas LEMS has immediate and dramatic post exercise facilitation (elevation) of CMAP amplitudes. Neoplasms associated with LEMS or MG are an endogenous source of the antigens driving production of the autoantibodies that characterize each disorder. In adults with MG, there is at least a 20% occurrence of thymoma and, very rarely (<1%), extrathymic cancers. LEMS is frequently associated (80%) with small-cell lung carcinoma (SCLC). Thus far, MuSK antibody associated MG has not been associated with any neoplasm.


The diagnostic sensitivity of these tests depends on the disease severity and duration of symptoms. AChR binding antibodies may be undetectable for 6 to 12 months after MG symptom onset and similarly P/Q-type calcium channel antibody may be undetectable for 6 to 12 months after LEMS onset. Only about 5% of adult patients with generalized MG who are not immunosuppressed remain seronegative for muscle AChR beyond 12 months. Although immunotherapy is universally beneficial for MG, in LEMS resection of the identified SCLC and initiation of 3-4 diaminopyridine, which facilitates acetylcholine release by increasing presynaptic calcium concentration, is most beneficial.


Note: Single antibody tests may be requested in the follow-up of patients with positive results previously documented in this laboratory.

Reference Values

Test ID

Reporting name


Reference value


MG Lambert-Eaton Interpretation, S




ACh Receptor (Muscle) Binding Ab

Radioimmunoassay (RIA)

≤0.02 nmol/L


P/Q-Type Calcium Channel Ab


≤0.02 nmol/L

Reflex Information:

Test ID

Reporting name


Reference value


AChR Modulating Flow Cytometry, S

Flow cytometry



MuSK Autoantibody, S


≤0.02 nmol/L


Positive results in this antibody evaluation are indicative of an autoimmune neuromuscular junction disorder. These results should be interpreted in the appropriate clinical and electrophysiological context.


In the presence of either acetylcholine receptor antibodies or P/Q antibodies, a paraneoplastic basis should be considered with thymoma being the most commonly associated tumor with myasthenia gravis and small cell lung cancer being the most commonly associated cancer with Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome. Currently, muscle-specific kinase antibody positive myasthenia gravis is not associated with a paraneoplastic etiology.


Negative results do not exclude the diagnosis of an autoimmune neuromuscular junction disorder. If clinical suspicion remains and symptoms persistent or worsen consider retesting.

Clinical Reference

1. Lennon VA: Serological profile of myasthenia gravis and distinction from the Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome. Neurology. 1997;48(Suppl 5):S23-S27. doi: 10.1212/WNL.48.Suppl_5.23S

2. Harper CM, Lennon VA: Lambert-Eaton syndrome. In: Kaminski HJ, ed. Current Clinical Neurology: Myasthenia Gravis and Related Disorders. 2nd ed. Humana Press; 2008;209-226

3. Hoch W, McConville J, Helms S, Newsom-Davis J, Melms A, Vincent A: Auto-antibodies to the receptor tyrosine kinase MuSK in patients with myasthenia gravis without acetylcholine receptor antibodies. Nat Med. 2001 Mar;7(3):365-368. doi: 10.1038/85520

4. Shelly S, Paul P, Bi H, et al: Improving accuracy of myasthenia gravis autoantibody testing by reflex algorithm. Neurology. 2020 Dec 1;95(22):e3002-e3011. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000010910.

Day(s) Performed

Profile tests: Monday through Sunday; Reflex tests: Varies

Report Available

3 to 10 days

Test Classification

This test was developed, and its performance characteristics determined by Mayo Clinic in a manner consistent with CLIA requirements. This test has not been cleared or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

CPT Code Information



86255 (if appropriate)

83519 (if appropriate)

LOINC Code Information

Test ID Test Order Name Order LOINC Value
MGLE MG/LEMS Evaluation, S 97566-4


Result ID Test Result Name Result LOINC Value
8338 ACh Receptor (Muscle) Binding Ab 97558-1
81185 P/Q-Type Calcium Channel Ab 94349-8
34273 MG Lambert-Eaton Interpretation, S 69048-7
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