The juvenile idiopathic inflammatory myopathies: pathogenesis, clinical and autoantibody phenotypes, and outcomes

J Intern Med. 2016 Jul;280(1):24-38. doi: 10.1111/joim.12444. Epub 2016 Mar 30.


The aim of this review was to summarize recent advances in the understanding of the clinical and autoantibody phenotypes, their associated outcomes and the pathogenesis of the juvenile idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (JIIMs). The major clinical and autoantibody phenotypes in children have many features similar to those in adults, and each has distinct demographic and clinical features and associated outcomes. The most common myositis autoantibodies in JIIM patients are anti-p155/140, anti-MJ and anti-MDA5. Higher mortality has been associated with overlap myositis as well as with the presence of anti-synthetase and anti-MDA5 autoantibodies; a chronic illness course and lipodystrophy have been associated with anti-p155/140 autoantibodies; and calcinosis has been associated with anti-MJ autoantibodies. Histologic abnormalities of JIIMs detectable on muscle biopsy have also been correlated with myositis-specific autoantibodies; for example, patients with anti-MDA5 show low levels of inflammatory infiltrate and muscle damage on biopsy. The first genome-wide association study of adult and juvenile dermatomyositis revealed three novel genetic associations, BLK, PLCL1 and CCL21 and confirmed that the human leucocyte antigen region is the primary risk region for juvenile dermatomyositis. Here, we review the well-established pathogenic processes in JIIMs, including the type 1 interferon and endoplasmic reticulum stress pathways. Several novel JIIM-associated inflammatory mediators, such as the innate immune system proteins, myeloid-related peptide 8/14, galectin 9 and eotaxin, have emerged as promising biomarkers of disease. Advances in our understanding of the phenotypes and pathophysiology of the JIIMs are leading to better tools to help clinicians stratify and treat these heterogeneous disorders.

Keywords: chemokine; interferon alpha; juvenile dermatomyositis; juvenile polymyositis; myositis autoantibodies; outcomes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoantibodies / immunology*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Myositis / classification
  • Myositis / genetics
  • Myositis / immunology*
  • Myositis / pathology
  • Phenotype
  • Prognosis


  • Autoantibodies