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Clin Immunol. 2001 Aug;100(2):236-9.

Expression of TNFalpha by muscle fibers in biopsies from children with untreated juvenile dermatomyositis: association with the TNFalpha-308A allele.

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Division of Pediatric Immunology/Rheumatology, Northwestern University Medical School, The Children's Memorial Hospital, 2300 Children's Plaza, No. 50, Chicago, Illinois 60614, USA.


Juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM) is the most common pediatric inflammatory myopathy. In patients with JDM, the A --> G polymorphism in the tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha)-308 promoter region (TNFalpha-308A) is associated with prolonged disease course and increased production of TNFalpha by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (Arthritis Rheum. 43, 2368-2377, 2000). Magnetic resonance imaging directed biopsies from 21 white children with untreated JDM were evaluated for TNFalpha expression. Using monoclonal antibody to TNFalpha, fresh frozen sections were processed by the standard immunohistochemical technique. We investigated the association among the expression of TNFalpha by muscle fibers, disease activity, duration of untreated disease, and the TNFalpha-308 polymorphism. Untreated children with JDM who had the TNFalpha-308A allele had an increased number of TNFalpha stained muscle fibers than children with the TNFalpha-308G allele (P = 0.001). There was no association with disease activity or duration of untreated disease. We speculate that muscle fiber production of TNFalpha provides a microenvironment in which TNFalpha acts synergistically with other mediators to prolong muscle fiber damage.

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