Muscle fiber dysfunction contributes to weakness in inclusion body myositis

Neuromuscul Disord. 2019 Jun;29(6):468-476. doi: 10.1016/j.nmd.2019.03.001. Epub 2019 Mar 7.


Atrophy and fatty infiltration are important causes of muscle weakness in inclusion body myositis (IBM). Muscle weakness can also be caused by reduced specific force; i.e. the amount of force generated per unit of residual muscle tissue. This study investigates in vivo specific force of the quadriceps and ex vivo specific force of single muscle fibers in patients with IBM. We included 8 participants with IBM and 12 healthy controls, who all underwent quantitative muscle testing, quantitative MRI of the quadriceps and paired muscle biopsies of the quadriceps and tibialis anterior. Single muscle fibers were isolated to measure muscle fiber specific force and contractile properties. Both in vivo quadriceps specific force and ex vivo muscle fiber specific force were reduced. Muscle fiber dysfunction was accompanied by reduced active stiffness, which reflects a decrease in the number of attached actin-myosin cross-bridges during activation. Myosin concentration was reduced in IBM fibers. Because reduced specific force contributes to muscle weakness in patients with IBM, therapeutic strategies that augment muscle fiber strength may provide benefit to patients with IBM.

Keywords: Inclusion body myositis; MRI; Muscle weakness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Elasticity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Muscle Weakness / etiology
  • Muscle Weakness / physiopathology*
  • Myosin Heavy Chains / metabolism
  • Myositis, Inclusion Body / complications
  • Myositis, Inclusion Body / physiopathology*
  • Quadriceps Muscle / physiopathology


  • Myosin Heavy Chains
  • Calcium