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Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. Jan 1995; 2(1): 1–9.
PMCID: PMC170091

Laboratory evaluation of the inflammatory myopathies.


The laboratory plays an important role in the diagnosis, evaluation, and classification of the heterogeneous group of diseases known as the IIM, which are characterized by chronic muscle inflammation. Serial measurements of the levels of muscle-derived enzymes in serum are the traditional laboratory studies used to follow the clinical course of patients with IIM, although other laboratory tests can also be useful in assessing myositis disease activity. Several markers of immune system activation, including cytokines and lymphocyte markers, show promise as possibly more sensitive measures of myositis disease activity. Discovery of a unique group of MSAs over the past decade has provided an immunologic basis for defining relatively homogeneous subsets of patients who share similar clinical features, disease courses, and responses to therapy. Future investigations of novel immunologic activation markers, as well as the cloning and expression of target autoantigens of the MSAs, should allow better diagnostic assays, enhanced prognosis, and a better understanding of the pathogenesis of these disorders.

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Selected References

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