CD8+ T cells in facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy patients with inflammatory features at muscle MRI

Giovanni Frisullo, Roberto Frusciante, Viviana Nociti, Giorgio Tasca, Rosaria Renna, Raffaele Iorio, Agata Katia Patanella, Elisabetta Iannaccone, Alessandro Marti, Monica Rossi, Assunta Bianco, Mauro Monforte, Pietro Attilio Tonali, Massimiliano Mirabella, Anna Paola Batocchi, Enzo Ricci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is an inherited disease, and although strongly suggested, a contribution of inflammation to its pathogenesis has never been demonstrated. In FSHD patients, we found by immunohistochemistry inflammatory infiltrates mainly composed by CD8+ T cells in muscles showing hyperintensity features on T2-weighted short tau inversion recovery magnetic resonance imaging (T2-STIR-MRI) sequences. Therefore, we evaluated the presence of circulating activated immune cells and the production of cytokines in patients with or without muscles showing hyperintensity features on T2-STIR-MRI sequences and from controls. FSHD patients displaying hyperintensity features in one or more muscles showed higher CD8+pSTAT1 +, CD8+T-bet+ T cells and CD14 +pSTAT1+, CD14+T-bet+ cells percentages and IL12p40, IFNγ and TNFα levels than patients without muscles displaying hyperintense features and controls. Moreover, the percentages of CD8+pSTAT1+, CD8+T-bet+ and CD14+pSTAT1+ cells correlated with the proportion of muscles displaying hyperintensity features at T2-STIR sequences. These data indicate that circulating activated immune cells, mainly CD8+ T cells, may favour FSHD progression by promoting active phases of muscle inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-166
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Immunology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


  • CD8 T cells
  • cytokines
  • FSHD
  • inflammation
  • muscle MRI
  • pSTAT1
  • T-bet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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