Higher proportion of fast-twitch (type II) muscle fibres in idiopathic inflammatory myopathies - evident in chronic but not in untreated newly diagnosed patients.Clin Physiol Funct Imaging. 2011 Jan; 31(1):18-25.CP
Polymyositis and dermatomyositis are idiopathic, inflammatory myopathies characterized by proximal muscle fatigue. Conventional immunosuppressive treatment gives a variable response. Biopsies from chronic patients display a low proportion type I and a high proportion of type II muscle fibres. This raised a suspicion that the low proportion of type I fibres might play a role in the muscle fatigue.
To investigate whether the muscle fibre attributes evident in chronic myositis are characteristic for the polymyositis and dermatomyosistis diseases themselves.
Muscle biopsies were obtained from thigh muscle from untreated patients (n = 18), treated responders (n = 14) and non-responders (n = 6) and from healthy controls (n = 11), respectively. For clinical evaluations, creatine kinase, functional index of myositis and cumulative dose of cortisone were established.
Chronic patients had a lower proportion of type I fibres and a higher proportion of type II fibres compared to untreated myositis patients and healthy controls. Fibre cross-sectional area (CSA) did not differ between patients and healthy individuals but all women had a 20% smaller type II fibre CSA compared to men.
Untreated polymyositis and dermatomyositis patients and healthy controls have a different fibre type composition than chronic polymyositis and dermatomyositis patients. Fibre CSA did not differ between healthy controls or any of the patient groups. A low proportion of oxidative muscle fibres can therefore be excluded as a contributing factor causing muscle fatigue at disease onset and the gender difference should be taken into consideration when evaluating fibre CSA in myositis.