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Neurology. 2001 Jan 9;56(1):87-93.

Inclusion body myositis: expression of extracellular signal-regulated kinase and its substrate.

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Department of Neurology, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.



To assess abnormal intracellular signal transduction in inclusion body myositis (IBM).


Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) play pivotal roles in intracellular signal transduction and regulate cell growth and differentiation. Upon their activation, MAPKs translocate from the cytoplasm into the nucleus.


The authors investigated the localization of several forms of the MAPK family-extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK), and p38 MAPK (p38)-in 10 patients with sporadic IBM and in 52 control subjects. The relationship between the localization of immunopositive deposits and nuclei was tested with bis-benzimide.


Vacuolated fibers in IBM displayed very strong focal immunoreactivity of ERK, but not of JNK or p38. The ERK-positive deposits in these vacuolated fibers colocalized with the nuclear substrate of ERK, Elk-1. ERK- and Elk-1-positive deposits were located frequently on the surface of the nuclei in vacuolated fibers in IBM. Similar findings to those of sporadic IBM were observed in three patients with distal myopathy with rimmed vacuoles, but not in eight normal or the other 41 disease controls.


There is evidence for impaired molecular transport to the nucleus from the cytoplasm in the vacuolated fibers in IBM. This could be due to cytoplasmic aggregation of ERK and Elk-1 or to abnormal nuclear pore machinery involved in the transport of ERK and its substrate upon ERK activation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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