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Review

Developments in the scientific and clinical understanding of inflammatory myopathies

Ingrid E Lundberg* and Cecilia Grundtman

Author Affiliations

Rheumatology Unit, Department of Medicine, Karolinska University Hospital – Solna, Karolinska Institutet, SE-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2008, 10:220  doi:10.1186/ar2501

Published: 10 October 2008

Abstract

The idiopathic inflammatory myopathies are chronic autoimmune disorders sharing the clinical symptom of muscle weakness and, in typical cases, inflammatory cell infiltrates in muscle tissue. During the last decade, novel information has accumulated supporting a role of both the innate and adaptive immune systems in myositis and suggesting that different molecular pathways predominate in different subsets of myositis. The type I interferon activity is one such novel pathway identified in some subsets of myositis. Furthermore, nonimmunological pathways have been identified, suggesting that factors other than direct T cell-mediated muscle fibre necrosis could have a role in the development of muscle weakness.