Background: In dermatomyostis (DM) patients, inflammation, reduced activity, and medication have a negative impact on the musculoskeletal system. Several endocrine factors are involved in muscle growth and bone turnover.
Objective: We aimed to investigate factors regulating myogenesis and bone metabolism and to evaluate possible associations between these endocrine factors, muscle strength, and functional tests in DM patients.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study in 20 dermatomyositis patients. Serum levels of myostatin (MSTN), follistatin (FSTN), dickkopf 1 (Dkk1), sclerostin (SOST), periostin (PSTN), the receptor activator nuclear factor kB ligand (RANKL):osteoprotegerin (OPG) ratio and fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) were determined. Physical function was evaluated by hand-held strength measurement, chair rising test, timed up and go test and the 3-min walking test.
Results: Serum MSTN and FGF23 levels (2.5 [1.9; 3.2] vs. 1.9 [1.6; 2.3] and 2.17 [1.45; 3.26] vs. 1.28 [0.79; 1.96], respectively; p < 0.05) were significantly higher in DM patients than in controls. Dkk1 was significantly lower (11.4 [6.9; 20.0] vs. 31.8 [14.3; 50.6], p < 0.01). Muscle strength and physical function tests correlated with each other (e.g. hip flexion - timed up and go test: r = - 0.748, p < 0.01).
Conclusion: In DM patients, biochemical musculo-skeletal markers are altered and physical function shows deficits. All these tests reflect independent of each other different deficits in long-term DM patients which is important for the assessment of DM patients as well as planning of therapeutic interventions in clinical routine.
Keywords: Dermatomyositis; FGF23; Muscle strength; Myostatin; Physical function.