Cytokine Profiling of Serum Allows Monitoring of Disease Progression in Inclusion Body Myositis

J Neuromuscul Dis. 2017;4(4):327-335. doi: 10.3233/JND-170234.


Background: Inclusion body myositis is a late onset inflammatory myopathy lacking reliable serum biomarkers for diagnosis and for disease progression.

Objective: To identify diagnostic and predictive biomarkers, cytokine profiling is used to assess the potential of cytokines to discriminate between cases and controls and to assess whether treatment with methotrexate can influence biomarkers associated with disease progression.

Methods: The diagnostic and follow-up potential of 48 cytokines was tested using Bioplex-assay and ELISA in sera of healthy individuals, IBM patients and patients with other neuromuscular disorders.

Results: Ten cytokines (TRAIL, IL-8, MIF, MCP-1, LIF, IP-10, IFN-α2, MIG, bNGF and IL-3) were identified to be good to excellent markers to discern IBM patients from healthy controls. Three cytokines (IP-10, Eotaxin and SDF1A) changed significantly upon methotrexate treatment as compared with the natural clinical course. Muscle strength loss was associated with changes in IL-8 and SDF1A levels. IFN-γ levels were only associated with survival of IBM patients before correction for multiple comparisons.

Discussion: Cytokine profiling can discriminate IBM patients from healthy controls and other neuromuscular disorders. Immunosuppression with methotrexate affects cytokine levels in IBM. IL-8 and SDF1A could serve as biomarkers for disease progression.

Keywords: Autoimmune diseases; biomarker; muscular diseases; neuromuscular diseases.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Methotrexate / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength
  • Myositis, Inclusion Body / blood*
  • Myositis, Inclusion Body / drug therapy
  • Myositis, Inclusion Body / immunology
  • Myositis, Inclusion Body / mortality
  • Survival Analysis


  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Methotrexate