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Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2014 May;10(5):295-303. doi: 10.1038/nrrheum.2014.2. Epub 2014 Jan 28.

The skeletal muscle arachidonic acid cascade in health and inflammatory disease.

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  • 1Rheumatology Unit, Department of Medicine, Karolinska University Hospital, Karolinskav√§gen, Solna, Karolinska Institutet, SE-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden.


Muscle atrophy and weakness are often observed in patients with chronic inflammatory diseases, and are the major clinical features of the autoimmune myopathies, polymyositis and dermatomyositis. A general understanding of the pathogenesis of muscle atrophy and the impaired muscle function associated with chronic inflammatory diseases has not been clarified. In this context, arachidonic acid metabolites, such as the prostaglandin and leukotriene subfamilies, are of interest because they contribute to immune and nonimmune processes. Accumulating evidence suggests that prostaglandins and leukotrienes are involved in causing muscular pain and inflammation, and also in myogenesis and the repair of muscles. In this Review, we summarize novel findings that implicate prostaglandins and leukotrienes in the muscle atrophy and weakness that occur in inflammatory diseases of the muscles, with a focus on inflammatory myopathies. We discuss the role of the arachidonic acid cascade in skeletal muscle growth and function, and individual metabolites as potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of inflammatory muscle diseases.

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