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Test Code 0201939 Acetylcholine Receptor (Muscle AChR) Binding Antibody, Serum

Additional Codes

Mayo Test ID

Performing Laboratory

Mayo Clinic Laboratories in Rochester

Useful For

A first-order test for the laboratory diagnosis of myasthenia gravis (MG)


Detecting "subclinical MG" in recipients of D-penicillamine, in patients with thymoma without clinical evidence of MG, and in patients with graft-versus-host disease


Distinguishing acquired disease (90% positive) from congenital disease (negative)


Monitoring disease progression in MG or response to immunotherapy


An adjunct to the test for P/Q-type calcium channel binding antibodies as a diagnostic aid for Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LES) or primary lung carcinoma

Testing Algorithm

This is the primary diagnostic test for myasthenia gravis.


See the following algorithms in Special Instructions:

Myasthenia Gravis Evaluation with MuSK Reflex Algorithm

Myasthenia Gravis/Lambert Eaton Syndrome Diagnostic Algorithm

Myasthenia Gravis: Adult Diagnostic Algorithm

Myasthenia Gravis: Pediatric Diagnostic Algorithm

Myasthenia Gravis: Thymoma Diagnostic Algorithm

Method Name

Radioimmunoassay (RIA)

Reporting Name

ACh Receptor (Muscle) Binding Ab

Specimen Type


Specimen Required

Patient Preparation: 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 1 week and assayed if sufficiently decayed, or canceled if radioactivity remains.


Preferred: Red top

Acceptable: Serum gel

Specimen Volume: 1.5 mL

Specimen Minimum Volume

1 mL

Specimen Stability Information

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

Reject Due To


Mild OK; Gross reject


Mild OK; Gross reject


Mild OK; Gross reject



Reference Values

≤0.02 nmol/L


Values above 0.02 nmol/L are consistent with a diagnosis of acquired myasthenia gravis (MG), provided that clinical and electrophysiological criteria support that diagnosis.


The assay for muscle acetylcholine receptor (AChR) binding antibodies is positive in approximately 90% of nonimmunosuppressed patients with generalized MG.


The frequency of antibody detection is lower in MG patients with weakness clinically restricted to ocular muscles (71%), and antibody titers are generally low in ocular MG (eg, 0.03-1.0 nmol/L).


Results may be negative in the first 12 months after symptoms of MG appear or during immunosuppressant therapy. Note: In follow up of seronegative patients with adult-acquired generalized MG, 17.4% seroconvert to positive at 12 months (ie, seronegativity rate at 12 months is 8.4%). Of persistently seronegative patients, 38% have muscle-specific kinase (MuSK) antibody.


Sera of nonmyasthenic subjects bind 0.02 nmol/L or less of muscle AChR complexed with (125)I-labeled-alpha-bungarotoxin.


In general, there is not a close correlation between antibody titer and severity of weakness, but in individual patients, clinical improvement is usually accompanied by a decrease in titer.

Day(s) and Time(s) Performed

Monday through Friday; 11 a.m., 6 p.m., 10 p.m.

Saturday; 6 a.m.

Sunday; 6 a.m., 10 a.m.

Analytic Time

3 days

Specimen Retention Time

28 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 U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

CPT Code Information


LOINC Code Information

Test ID Test Order Name Order LOINC Value
ARBI ACh Receptor (Muscle) Binding Ab 11034-6


Result ID Test Result Name Result LOINC Value
8338 ACh Receptor (Muscle) Binding Ab 11034-6


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