Inflammatory myopathies comprise heterogeneous disorders. Their etiopathogenesis is poorly understood, because of the paucity of informative experimental models and of approaches for the noninvasive study of inflamed tissues. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides information about the state of the skeletal muscle that reflects various facets of inflammation and remodeling. This technique has been scarcely used in experimental models of inflammatory myopathies. We characterized the performance of MRI in a well-established mouse model of myositis and the antisynthetase syndrome, based on the immunization of wild-type mice with the amino-terminal fragment of histidyl-tRNA synthetase (HisRS). Over an eight-week period following myositis induction, MRI enabled precise identification of pathological events taking place in muscle tissue. Areas of edema and of active inflammation identified by histopathology paralleled muscle modifications detected noninvasively by MRI. Muscles changes were chronologically associated with the establishment of autoimmunity, as reflected by the development of anti-HisRS antibodies in the blood of immunized mice. MR imaging easily appreciated muscle damage and remodeling even if actual disruption of myofiber integrity (as assessed by serum concentrations of creatinine phosphokinase) was limited. Thus, MR imaging represents an informative and noninvasive analytical tool for studying in vivo immune-mediated muscle involvement.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)