Idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIM) are chronic inflammatory diseases of muscle characterized by proximal muscle weakness. There are three main groups of diseases, dermatomyositis, polymyositis and inclusion body myositis. The muscle tissue is invaded by the humoral autoantibody producing immune system (B-cells) and by the cellular immune system with autoaggressive and inflammation modulating cells (e.g. dendritic cells, monocytes/macrophages, CD4 + and CD8 + T-cells and natural killer cells). The presence of specific or associated autoantibodies and inflammatory cellular infiltrates with cytotoxic and immune autoreactive properties are characteristic for IIM diseases. The pathogenesis is still unknown; nevertheless, there are several hints that exogenic factors might be involved in initiation and disease progression and bacterial, fungal and viral infections are thought to be possible initiators. Up to now information on prognostic markers to help with decision-making for individual treatment are limited. In addition, there has been only limited therapeutic success including conventional or novel drugs and biologicals and comparative validation studies are needed using similar outcome measurements. Moreover, to facilitate the use and development of novel therapies, elaboration of intracellular and cell-specific regulation could be useful to understand the etiopathogenesis and allow a better diagnosis, prognosis and possibly also a prediction for individualized subgroup treatment.