Monoclonal antibody analysis of mononuclear cells in myopathies. I: Quantitation of subsets according to diagnosis and sites of accumulation and demonstration and counts of muscle fibers invaded by T cells

Ann Neurol. 1984 Aug;16(2):193-208. doi: 10.1002/ana.410160206.


In 76 muscle specimens (normal controls, 9; Duchenne dystrophy, 11; scleroderma, 11; dermatomyositis, 13; polymyositis, 15; inclusion body myositis, 17), mononuclear cells were analyzed at perivascular, perimysial, and endomysial sites of accumulation. Monoclonal antibodies reactive for B cells, T cells, T cell subsets, killer (K) or natural killer (NK) cells, and the Ia antigen were used for cell typing. Macrophages were identified by the acid phosphatase reaction. Few extravascular mononuclear cells occurred in normal muscle. In all inflammatory myopathies, a mixed exudate of T cells, B cells, and macrophages was present. Mature K/NK cells were rare in all diseases. In dermatomyositis, polymyositis, and inclusion body myositis, there was a positive gradient for T cells, T8+ cells, and activated T cells and a negative gradient for B cells and T4+ cells between perivascular and endomysial sites. In scleroderma the predominant perimysial exudate consisted mostly of T cells and macrophages. The percentage of B cells at all sites, and the T4+/T cell ratio in the endomysium, were significantly higher in dermatomyositis than in the other diseases. In polymyositis and inclusion body myositis, the endomysial exudate contained a large number of T cells, T8+ cells, and activated T cells but only sparse B cells. T cells accompanied by macrophages focally surrounded and invaded nonnecrotic fibers in polymyositis and inclusion body myositis. Rare fibers in Duchenne dystrophy and a very few fibers in dermatomyositis and scleroderma were similarly affected. We infer that (1) T-B, T-T, and T-macrophage cooperativities are likely to exist in muscle in different myopathies; (2) T cell-mediated fiber injury plays a role in polymyositis and inclusion body myositis; (3) T cell-mediated fiber injury can also occur in inherited diseases, such as Duchenne dystrophy; and (4) a local humoral response may occur in muscle in dermatomyositis and possibly in polymyositis and inclusion body myositis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / analysis*
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dermatomyositis / immunology
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscles / immunology
  • Muscular Dystrophies / immunology
  • Myositis / immunology
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / immunology*
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal