Macrophagic myofasciitis and vaccination: consequence or coincidence?

Rheumatol Int. 2015 Jan;35(1):189-92. doi: 10.1007/s00296-014-3065-4. Epub 2014 Jun 13.


Macrophagic myofasciitis (MMF) characterized by specific muscle lesions assessing long-term persistence of aluminum hydroxide within macrophages at the site of previous immunization has been reported with increasing frequency in the past 10 years. We describe clinical and laboratory findings in patients with MMF. We did a retrospective analysis of 16 cases observed in our Neuropathology Laboratory, between January 2000 and July 2013. The mean age of the 16 patients was 48.8 ± 18.0 years; 80.0 % were female. Chronic fatigue syndrome was found in 8 of 16 patients. Half of the patients had elevated creatinine kinase levels, and 25.0 % had a myopathic electromyogram. Thirteen patients received intramuscular administration of aluminum-containing vaccine prior to the onset of symptoms. MMF may mirror a distinctive pattern of an inflammatory myopathy. The vaccines containing this adjuvant may trigger MMF in some patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / adverse effects*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aluminum Hydroxide / adverse effects
  • Fasciitis / etiology*
  • Fasciitis / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intramuscular / adverse effects
  • Macrophages / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myositis / etiology*
  • Myositis / pathology
  • Vaccination / adverse effects*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Aluminum Hydroxide

Supplementary concepts

  • Macrophagic myofasciitis