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Test ID: MGMR Myasthenia Gravis Evaluation with Muscle-Specific Kinase (MuSK) Reflex, Serum

Ordering Guidance


Specimen Required

Patient Preparation:

1. For optimal antibody detection, specimen collection is recommended prior to initiation of immunosuppressant medication or intravenous immunoglobulin treatment.

2. This test should not be requested for 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 1 week and assayed if sufficiently decayed or canceled if radioactivity remains.


Supplies: Sarstedt Aliquot Tube, 5 mL (T914)

Collection Container/Tube:

Preferred: Red top

Acceptable: Serum gel

Submission Container/Tube: Plastic vial

Specimen Volume: 3 mL

Collection Instructions: Centrifuge and aliquot serum into a plastic vial.


If not ordering electronically, complete, print, and send a Neurology Specialty Testing Client Test Request (T732) with the specimen.

Useful For

Diagnosing autoimmune myasthenia gravis (MG) in adults and children


Distinguishing autoimmune from congenital MG in adults and children or other acquired forms of neuromuscular junction transmission disorders


Establishing a quantitative baseline value that allows comparison with future levels if weakness is worsening

Profile Information

Test ID Reporting Name Available Separately Always Performed
MGMRI MG with MuSK Interpretation, S No Yes
ARBI ACh Receptor (Muscle) Binding Ab Yes 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, then MuSK autoantibody will be performed at an additional charge.


For more information, see Myasthenia Gravis Evaluation with MuSK Reflex Algorithm

Method Name

ARBI, MUSK: Radioimmunoassay (RIA)

ACMFS: Flow Cytometry

MGMRI: Medical Interpretation

Reporting Name

MG Evaluation MuSK Reflex, 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

Fatigable weakness due to impaired postsynaptic transmission at the neuromuscular junction is characteristic of myasthenia gravis (MG). A clinical diagnosis should be supported by electrodiagnostic testing, ie, clinical-electrodiagnosis (EDX). Positive autoimmune serology increases certainty of MG diagnosis but needs to be interpreted in the proper clinical-EDX context with response to anticholinesterase medications supporting the diagnosis. Most cases are autoimmune and are caused by IgG autoantibodies binding to critical postsynaptic membrane molecules (nicotinic muscle acetylcholine receptor [AChR] or its interacting proteins, such as muscle-specific kinase [MuSK]). 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. Autoantibody detection frequency is lowest in patients with weakness confined to extraocular muscles (72% are positive for AChR binding antibodies) and highest in patients with generalized weakness due to MG (92% are positive for AChR binding antibodies). In adults with MG and AChR antibodies, approximately 20% will have thymoma and, very rarely (<1%), extrathymic cancers. Computerized tomography imaging of the chest is considered the standard of care to evaluate for thymoma.


MuSK antibody is detectable in more than one-third of patients with MG who are seronegative for muscle AChR antibodies. MuSK is involved in integrating and stabilizing AChR clusters at the motor endplate. MuSK is activated when the nerve-derived proteoglycan agrin binds to its receptor, lipoprotein-related protein 4 (LRP4). Patients with MuSK MG are more commonly female. Onset can occur at any age (pediatric to older adult). Patients derive less benefit from anticholinesterase medications and no neoplasm has been associated with MuSK MG. Although beneficial, thymectomy has not been demonstrated to be helpful in MuSK MG. Patients with both AChR and MuSK autoantibodies benefit from immunotherapy, however, patients with MuSK autoantibodies tend to have more steroid dependence.


In patients with seronegative MG, reconsideration of the diagnosis is important. If clinical-EDX criteria are still met, repeating serological testing within one year can increase serological positivity for AChR antibodies by 15%. 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. Only about 5% of adult patients with generalized MG who are not immunosuppressed remain seronegative for muscle AChR beyond 12 months. Objective improvement by electrodiagnostic and strength testing following a therapeutic trial of plasmapheresis or intravenous immune globulin can justify consideration of long-term immunosuppression in patients who are seronegative meeting clinical-EDX criteria.


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 with MuSK Interpretation, S




ACh Receptor (Muscle) Binding Ab

Radioimmunoassay (RIA)

≤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 autoimmune myasthenia gravis (MG). These results should be interpreted in the appropriate clinical and electrophysiological context.


In the presence of either acetylcholine receptor antibodies, a paraneoplastic basis should be considered with thymoma being the most frequently associated tumor with myasthenia gravis. Currently, muscle-specific kinase antibody positive MG 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 re-testing.

Clinical Reference

1. Li Y, Arora Y, Levin K: Myasthenia gravis: Newer therapies offer sustained improvement. Cleve Clin J Med. 2013 Nov;80(11):711-721. doi: 10.3949/ccjm.80a.13044

2. Vernino S, Lennon VA: Autoantibody profiles and neurological correlations of thymoma. Clin Cancer Res. 2004 Nov 1;10(21):7270-7275. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-04-0735

3. Skjei KL, Lennon VA, Kuntz NL: Muscle specific kinase autoimmune myasthenia gravis in children: A case series. Neuromuscul Disord. 2013 Nov;23(11):874-882. doi: 10.1016/j.nmd.2013.07.010

4. 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

5. Chan KH, Lachance DH, Harper CM, Lennon VA: Frequency of seronegativity in adult-acquired generalized myasthenia gravis. Muscle Nerve. 2007 Nov;36(5):651-658. doi: 10.1002/mus.20854

6. Shelly S, Paul P, Bi H, et al: Improving accuracy of myasthenia gravis autoantibody testing by reflex algorithm. Neurology2020 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
MGMR MG Evaluation MuSK Reflex, S 53706-8


Result ID Test Result Name Result LOINC Value
608981 MG with MuSK Interpretation, S 69048-7
8338 ACh Receptor (Muscle) Binding Ab 97558-1
Mayo Clinic Laboratories | Neurology Catalog Additional Information: