The Clinical and Histological Spectrum of Idiopathic Inflammatory Myopathies

Ilaria Cavazzana, Micaela Fredi, Carlo Selmi, Angela Tincani, Franco Franceschini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIMs) are a heterogeneous group of myositis, characterised by chronic muscle weakness, cutaneous features, different extra-muscular manifestations and circulating autoantibodies. IIMs included classical polymyositis (PM), dermatomyositis (DM) and other different types of myositis with a wide range of muscle involvement. A complete autoantibody profile and a muscle biopsy are mandatory to correctly diagnose different clinical entities and to define their different prognosis. Bohan and Peter’s criteria included five items to diagnose adult onset PM and DM. The sensitivity was 74–100 %, while the specificity is low, due to a poor ability to differentiate PM from neuromuscular diseases. Other criteria included a more accurate histological definition of PM, DM or amyopathic DM, obtaining a higher specificity. Autoantibodies’ association, interstitial lung disease and clinical cardiac involvement represent the main items that could define the prognosis of these patients. On the other hand, inclusion body myositis is a different myopathy characterised by a peculiar muscle mass involvement, muscle atrophy and progressive loss of function, due to complete failure to all immunosuppressive drugs used. Treatment of IIMs is based on corticosteroids (CS), which show rapid clinical response and functional improvement. Different immunosuppressant drugs are given to obtain a better control of the disease during CS tapering dose. No controlled double blind trials demonstrated the superiority of one immunesuppressant on another. The occurrence of interstitial lung involvement requires the immediate introduction of immunosuppressants in addiction to CS. Severe dysphagia seems to improve with intravenous immunoglobulins (Ig). Physical therapy could be started after the acute phase of diseases and seems to have a beneficial role in muscle strength recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalClinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology
StateAccepted/In press - Oct 29 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Dermatomyositis
  • Muscle biopsy
  • Muscle enzyme
  • Myositis
  • Myositis treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy


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