Myositis is a chronic rheumatic muscle inflammation that affects approximately 1 000 people in Sweden. It is characterized by progressive muscle weakness and muscle fatigue particularly affecting thigh, shoulder and neck muscles. In the most severe forms problems with swallowing may occur. Other organs may also be affected by inflammation like the skin, lungs and joints. Current treatment is based on glucocorticoids in high doses in combination with another immunosuppressive agent mostly methotrexate or azathioprine. With this treatment regimen most patients improve, at least partially, but few recover their former strength, and side effects like osteoporosis and hypertension are common. Therefore new therapies are needed. The aim of our research project is to achieve improved knowledge on disease mechanisms that cause the disease, in particular what molecular mechanisms that cause muscle weakness, in order to facilitate development of new therapies. Our research group has made pioneer work in demonstrating favourable effects of physical training both on clinical outcome and on molecular expression in muscle tissue.
Our research in myositis is focused on disease mechanisms that could explain why you develop myositis and why the muscles become weak. This will be accomplished by combining clinical outcome measures and investigations of molecular expression in repeated muscle biopsies after different interventions, pharmacological and exercise and by basic research in muscle physiology.
This subgroup was recently started focusing on research on disabilities, effects of exercise and development of clinical outcome measures for patients with rare systemic rheumatic diseases, e.g. adult idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (myositis) and systemic sclerosis.