Current Rheumatology Reports

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 225–232 | Cite as

Pathogenesis of Dermatomyositis: Role of Cytokines and Interferon

  • Lily Kao
  • Lorinda Chung
  • David F. FiorentinoEmail author


Dermatomyositis is a systemic autoimmune disease that primarily affects skeletal muscle, skin, and the lungs. Dermatomyositis is characterized by autoantibodies, tissue inflammation, parenchymal cell damage and death, and vasculopathy. This review focuses on recent advances regarding the role of cytokines and interferon in the pathogenesis of the disease. Evidence for the role of a particular cytokine is based on data showing dysregulated levels in tissue and/or blood; correlation with histopathologic or clinical markers of disease activity; and, rarely, clinical efficacy of targeted cytokine inhibitors. Many of the recent advances pertain to elucidation of the role of interferons in both muscle and skin disease in dermatomyositis. Although a great deal of progress has been made regarding the role of interferon in the disease, many critical questions remain unanswered.


Dermatomyositis Interferon Cytokine Interface dermatitis 



Dr. Fiorentino has served as a consultant for MedImmune. Drs. Kao and Chung reported no potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Immunology and RheumatologyStanford University School of MedicinePalo AltoUSA
  2. 2.Division of Immunology and RheumatologyStanford University School of MedicinePalo AltoUSA
  3. 3.Department of DermatologyStanford University School of MedicineRedwoodUSA

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