Components of the complement cascade and circulating immune complexes play important roles in both experimental autoimmune myasthenia avis and myasthenia gravis in humans. Thus far, no serological factor has been identified to predict the clinical severity of either myasthenia gravis. Upon immunization with acetylcholine receptor, levels of complement factors C1q, C3 and CIC increase with time in sera from C57BL/6 (B6) mice. Both these and plasma samples from myasthenia gravis patients also contain anti-C1q antibodies. The serum levels of anti-C1q antibodies but not C1q, C3 and CIC are significantly correlated with the clinical severity in the experimental myasthenia mice. However, this correlation is not observed in myasthenia gravis patients. (C) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.