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Hum Pathol. 1998 Oct;29(10):1128-33.

Rimmed vacuoles with beta-amyloid and ubiquitinated filamentous deposits in the muscles of patients with long-standing denervation (postpoliomyelitis muscular atrophy): similarities with inclusion body myositis.

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Neuromuscular Diseases Section, Medical Neurology Branch, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


In the chronically denervated muscles of patients with prior paralytic poliomyelitis, there are secondary myopathic features, including endomysial inflammation and rare vacuolated fibers. To assess the frequency and characteristics of the vacuoles and their similarities with those seen in inclusion body myositis (IBM), we examined 58 muscle biopsy specimens from patients with prior paralytic poliomyelitis for (1) the presence of rimmed vacuoles; (2) acid-phosphatase reactivity; (3) Congo-red-positive amyloid deposits; (4) electron microscopy, searching for tubulofilaments; and (5) immunoelectron microscopy, using antibodies against beta-amyloid and ubiquitin. We found vacuolated muscle fibers in 18 of 58 (31%) biopsies, with a mean frequency of 2.06 +/- 0.42 fibers per specimen. The vacuoles contained acid phosphatase-positive material in 6 of the 18 (33.30%) specimens and stained positive for Congo red in five (27.80%). By immunoelectron microscopy, the vacuoles contained 5.17 +/- 0.13 nm fibrils and 14.9 +/- 0.31 nm filaments that immunoreacted with antibodies to beta-amyloid and ubiquitin in a pattern identical to the one seen in IBM. We conclude that vacuolated muscle fibers containing filamentous inclusions positive for amyloid and ubiquitin are not unique to IBM and the other vacuolar myopathies but can also occur in a chronic neurogenic condition, such as postpoliomyelitis. The chronicity of the underlying disease, rather than the cause, may lead to vacuolar formation, amyloid deposition, and accumulation of ubiquitinated filaments.

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