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Fasciitis as a common lesion of dermatomyositis demonstrated early after disease onset by en bloc biopsy combined with magnetic resonance imaging.

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ARTHRITIS & RHEUMATISM
Vol. 62, No. 12, December 2010, pp 3751–3759
DOI 10.1002/art.27704
© 2010, American College of Rheumatology
Fasciitis as a Common Lesion of Dermatomyositis,
Demonstrated Early After Disease Onset by
En Bloc Biopsy Combined With Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Ken Yoshida,1 Daitaro Kurosaka,1 Kensuke Joh,2 Satoshi Matsushima,1 Eigo Takahashi,1
Kenichiro Hirai,1 Kentaro Noda,1 Taro Ukichi,1 Kazuhiro Furuya,1 Maimi Yanagimachi,1
Isamu Kingetsu,1 Kunihiko Fukuda,1 and Akio Yamada1
Conclusion. Fasciitis was histopathologically
demonstrated in patients with newly diagnosed adultonset DM as early as 2 months after the onset of muscle
symptoms. These results indicate that fasciitis is a
common lesion of DM and suggest that the fascial
microvasculature is the primary site of inflammatory
cell infiltration in DM. Fasciitis may contribute to
muscle symptoms in patients with DM without myositis.
Objective. To investigate whether fasciitis is histopathologically demonstrable in patients with dermatomyositis (DM), and to analyze the process of inflammatory progression in myopathy accompanying DM.
Methods. STIR or fat-suppressed T2-weighted
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and en bloc biopsy
were performed in 14 patients with newly diagnosed
adult-onset DM. The severity of inflammatory cell infiltration around the fascial and intramuscular small
blood vessels was evaluated using the total vascular
inflammation score (TVIS).
Results. In all patients, MRI revealed abnormal
hyperintensity in the fascia and in marginal sites of the
muscle, predominantly over central sites. En bloc biopsy
revealed the presence of fasciitis in most of the patients,
as shown by inflammatory infiltrates around the fascial
small blood vessels. In those patients who underwent en
bloc biopsy earlier than 2 months after the appearance
of muscle symptoms, the TVIS of the fascia was significantly higher than the TVIS of the muscle. In contrast,
in those patients who underwent en bloc biopsy >2
months after muscle symptom onset, the TVIS of the
fascia did not differ significantly from the TVIS of the
muscle.
Dermatomyositis (DM) is a disorder characterized by inflammation of the muscle and typical cutaneous findings (1). It has been reported that the intramuscular microvasculature is the primary target in DM
(2–4). Microvascular deposition of immunoglobulin,
complement, and membrane attack complex was hypothesized as one of the mechanisms of vessel injury
(5,6). The complement deposits induce endothelial cell
edema, vacuolization, capillary necrosis, and perivascular inflammation (7). Histopathologically, inflammatory
infiltrates are predominantly perivascular or clustered in
the interfascicular septa and around, rather than within,
the fascicles (8). However, in some patients, no inflammatory cells are evident on muscle biopsy (9–11). Even
when the muscle biopsy is performed at the site of
myalgia, the biopsy will often fail to reveal inflammatory
infiltrates in the muscle or structural changes in the
muscle fibers. It remains unclear why muscle symptoms
(i.e., myalgia and weakness) occur even in the absence of
inflammatory cells in the muscle or structural changes in
the muscle fibers, and it remains to be elucidated what
other factors might cause the muscle symptoms.
Kimball et al reported that edema in the skin,
subcutaneous tissue, and fascia, as revealed by STIR
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), is common in patients with juvenile DM and is often undetected by
1
Ken Yoshida, MD, PhD, Daitaro Kurosaka, MD, PhD,
Satoshi Matsushima, MD, PhD, Eigo Takahashi, MD, Kenichiro Hirai,
MD, Kentaro Noda, MD, Taro Ukichi, MD, Kazuhiro Furuya, MD,
Maimi Yanagimachi, MD, Isamu Kingetsu, MD, PhD, Kunihiko
Fukuda, MD, PhD, Akio Yamada, MD: Jikei University School of
Medicine, Tokyo, Japan; 2Kensuke Joh, MD, PhD: Sendai Shakai
Hoken Hospital, Miyagi, Japan.
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Ken Yoshida, MD, PhD, Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal
Medicine, Jikei University School of Medicine, 3-25-8, Nishi-shinbashi,
Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-8461, Japan. E-mail: k.yoshida@jikei.ac.jp.
Submitted for publication December 8, 2009; accepted in
revised form August 5, 2010.
3751
3752
YOSHIDA ET AL
Table 1. Characteristics of the patients with newly diagnosed adult-onset dermatomyositis*
Patient/age/sex
Maximum CK,
IU/liter
Jo-1
ILD
Cancer
Pretreatment
Biopsy site
Treatment after en bloc biopsy
1/64/F
2/34/F
3/40/M
4/38/M
5/58/M
6/53/M
7/51/M
8/30/F
9/73/M
10/63/M
11/56/F
12/54/F
13/32/M
14/51/F
249
480
176
363
229
2,833
77
6,530
895
1,342
246
35
2,428
82
–
–
–
–
–
⫹
–
–
–
–
–
–
⫹
–
–
⫹
⫹
–
⫹
⫹
–
–
–
–
–
⫹
⫹
–
SCLC
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
LC
BC
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
Pred. 5 mg
–
Pred. 10 mg
Sartorius
Deltoid
Deltoid
Rectus femoris
Biceps brachii
Biceps brachii
Biceps brachii
Biceps brachii
Biceps brachii
Deltoid
Biceps brachii
Deltoid
Biceps brachii
Sartorius
Cisplatin, etoposide, radiation
Pred. 50 mg, CSA 150 mg
Pred. 60 mg, CSA 200 mg
Pred. 50 mg, CSA 200 mg, MTX
Pred. 60 mg, tacrolimus 3 mg
Pred. 60 mg, tacrolimus 3 mg
Pred. 60 mg
Pulse MP, pred. 60 mg, MTX
Pred. 50 mg
Pred. 60 mg
Pred. 60 mg
Pred. 60 mg, tacrolimus 5 mg
Pred. 60 mg, CSA 200 mg
Pred. 60 mg
* CK ⫽ creatine kinase; ILD ⫽ interstitial lung disease; SCLC ⫽ small cell lung carcinoma; pred. ⫽ prednisolone; CSA ⫽ cyclosporin A; MTX ⫽
methotrexate; MP ⫽ methylprednisolone; LC ⫽ lung cancer; BC ⫽ breast cancer.
routine clinical and laboratory evaluations (12). Although evidence of edema on STIR MRI is generally
correlated with the presence of tissue inflammation or
edema (13,14), it is unknown whether, in DM, MRI
evidence of fascial edema is indicative of the histopathologic feature of fasciitis or edema. Interestingly, there
have been 2 case reports describing a patient with
adult-onset amyopathic DM whose disease was accompanied by fasciitis, as revealed by histopathologic assessment and by the detection of inflammatory infiltrates
not in the muscle, but in the fascia (15,16). Allen et al
speculated that fasciitis may represent an early lesion in
the evolution of DM (15). In DM, histopathologic
changes in the muscle have previously been investigated
in detail. However, changes in the fascia remain largely
unknown, because histopathologic evaluation of the
fascia has been reported to have been performed in only
2 patients with DM.
MRI is useful not only to define structural aberrations of the muscle and to assess disease activity, but
also to guide muscle biopsy and minimize sampling
errors (17–19). In the present study, we examined
whether fasciitis is histopathologically demonstrable after the onset of muscle symptoms in DM, and analyzed
the process of inflammatory progression. To this end, we
performed proximal muscle MRI in combination with en
bloc muscle biopsy, the latter involving resection of the
skin, subcutaneous tissue, fascia, and muscle, which
differs from general biopsy, in which only the muscle,
but not the fascia, is resected.
PATIENTS AND METHODS
Patients. Nineteen patients who were newly diagnosed
as having definite or probable adult-onset DM, in accordance
with the Bohan and Peter criteria (1), between June 2006 and
May 2010 were identified at the Division of Rheumatology of
Jikei University Hospital in Tokyo, Japan. Of 19 patients, 14
underwent en bloc biopsy and these patients were enrolled in
the study. The study protocol was approved by the ethics
committee of Jikei University School of Medicine, and informed consent was obtained from all patients. The patients
had not been treated with prednisolone for DM or had been
treated with ⱕ10 mg/day prednisolone for other diseases. We
excluded patients who had been receiving immunosuppressive
agents or ⬎10 mg/day prednisolone and those who had already
undergone general biopsy.
The median age at diagnosis was 49.79 years (range
30–73 years), and there were 6 women and 8 men. Eleven
patients were diagnosed as having definite DM and 3 patients
as having probable DM. Gottron’s papules were observed in all
patients and a heliotrope rash was observed in 11 patients.
Positive findings on electromyography were obtained in 8
patients. Three patients (patients 7, 11, and 13 in Table 1) had
clinically amyopathic DM, diagnosed in accordance with previously proposed features of either amyopathic DM or hypomyopathic DM (20), and their muscle symptoms were very
mild at the time of en bloc biopsy. Levels of serum creatine
kinase (normal range 25–160 IU/liter) varied from normal to
increased values (range 35–6,530 IU/liter). Anti–Jo-1 antibody
positivity was observed in 2 patients. Six patients had interstitial lung disease (ILD), and 3 patients without ILD had
previously had malignant neoplasms. The shortest period from
muscle symptom appearance to en bloc biopsy at the site was
1 week, and the longest period was 12 months. The site of en
bloc biopsy was the deltoid or biceps brachii muscle in the
brachium, and the rectus femoris or sartorius muscle in the
thigh (Table 1).
En bloc biopsy was also performed on 6 patients with
other rheumatic diseases in whom polymyositis (PM), DM, or
fasciitis was clinically suspected before biopsy. Three patients
had PM, 1 had undifferentiated myopathy, 1 had polyarteritis
nodosa (PAN) in muscles of the lower extremities, and 1 had
polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR). These subjects constituted a
comparison group.
FASCIITIS AS A COMMON LESION OF DERMATOMYOSITIS
En bloc biopsy combined with MRI. Before en bloc
biopsy, muscle MRI of the thighs and/or brachia was performed on all patients. En bloc biopsy was carried out on the
site at which patients were conscious of even mild muscle pain
or weakness and in which STIR or fat-suppressed T2-weighted
MRI had revealed an abnormal hyperintense area. Furthermore, we confirmed the enhancement in the same site on
gadolinium-enhanced fat-suppressed T1-weighted images. En
bloc biopsy, which involved resection of the skin, subcutaneous
tissue, fascia, and muscle, was performed using an open biopsy
technique, with the patient under local anesthesia. All biopsy
samples were fixed in 10% neutral-buffered formalin and
embedded in paraffin. For each biopsy sample obtained,
3-␮m–thick paraffin-embedded sections were prepared and
mounted on glass slides. These sections were stained with
hematoxylin and eosin, Masson’s trichrome, or elastic–van
Gieson stain.
Histopathology. All en bloc biopsy specimens were
assessed for histopathologic changes by an experienced pathologist (KJ) who was blinded to the patients’ medical history.
The intramuscular small blood vessels were defined as a small
artery, arteriole, blood capillary, venule, and small vein in the
interfascicular septum and in the fascicle. The fascial small
blood vessels were the same as those in the fascia, including
those in the epifascial tissue and subfascial tissue.
The grade and distribution of perivascular inflammatory changes in the fascia and muscle were evaluated using a
modification of the semiquantitative scoring system for focal
lymphocytic sialadenitis, with assessment of features according
to the international classification criteria for Sjögren’s syndrome (21). Briefly, the vascular inflammation score (VIS) was
defined as the number of aggregates of ⱖ50 inflammatory cells
infiltrating around a small blood vessel or a group of small
vessels per 4-mm2 area of tissue. The upper limit of the VIS in
the 4-mm2 area was not set. The total vascular inflammation
score (TVIS) was defined as the summation of the VIS in the
3 fields that showed the most remarkable perivascular infiltrates. Fasciitis was defined as a TVIS of ⱖ3 in the fascia, to
exclude very mild inflammation. The TVIS was assessed by a
pathologist and a rheumatologist (KJ and KY, respectively),
both of whom were blinded to the clinical data. In those cases
in which the difference between the 2 measurements from the
2 observers was ⱖ3, the appropriateness of the selection of
4-mm2 areas was mutually validated by the 2 observers, and the
TVIS was re-reviewed in those areas showing more remarkable
perivascular infiltrates until the observers reached a consensus.
In other cases, the mean values from 2 measurements were
used for statistical analysis.
Immunohistochemical staining. Immunohistochemistry was performed on paraffin-embedded sections using Dako
ChemMate EnVision, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The primary antibodies were as follows: anti-human
CD3 (clone PS1, diluted 1:1; Nichirei), anti-human CD4 (clone
IF6, diluted 1:1; Nichirei), anti-human CD8 (clone C8/144B,
diluted 1:1; Nichirei), anti-human CD20 (clone L26, diluted
1:500; Dako), anti-human CD79␣ (clone JCB117, diluted
1:200; Dako), and anti-human CD68 (clone KP1, diluted 1:100;
Dako). The chromogen was 3,3⬘-diaminobenzidine tetrahydrochloride and the sections were counterstained with hematoxylin. An isotype-matched irrelevant antibody was included as a
negative control for all staining. The first and last sections of
3753
each series of consecutive sections were stained with hematoxylin and eosin to confirm that the histopathologic structure
remained unchanged across the consecutive sections. For each
sample, we performed qualitative analysis on the number of
CD20⫹ B cells and CD79␣⫹ B or plasma cells (⫺ ⫽ no
positive cells, ⫹/⫺ ⫽ a few positive cells, and ⫹ ⫽ significant
infiltration of positive cells). The CD4:CD8 cell ratio was
graded as ⬎1, 1, or ⬍1.
Statistical analysis. Differences in the TVIS between
experimental groups were analyzed by the nonparametric
Mann-Whitney U test using GraphPad Prism software, version
4.0. P values less than 0.05 were considered statistically significant.
RESULTS
MRI findings. STIR or fat-suppressed T2weighted MRI was performed before en bloc biopsy. In
all of the patients with DM, MRI revealed abnormal
hyperintense areas in the fascias and muscles, and in 10
patients, this abnormality was also observed in the
subcutaneous tissue of the extremities. In patients who
underwent en bloc biopsy earlier than 2 months after the
appearance of muscle symptoms (patients 1–7, comprising the early-biopsy group), MRI revealed abnormal
hyperintense areas that were more predominant in the
fascias as compared with the muscles (Figure 1A). In
patients who underwent en bloc biopsy ⱖ2 months after
the onset of muscle symptoms (patients 8–14, comprising the late-biopsy group), MRI revealed abnormal
hyperintense areas that were distributed in equal proportions in the fascias and muscles.
In the abnormal hyperintense areas of the fascia,
the signal strengths on MRI were approximately equal
between patients in the early-biopsy group and those in
the late-biopsy group. In the abnormal hyperintense
areas of the muscle, the signal strengths were higher in
the late-biopsy group than in the early-biopsy group.
Moreover, in the late-biopsy group, the signal strength
was high at marginal sites of the muscle, predominantly
over central sites (Figures 1B, D, and F). In patient 14,
for whom the period from the appearance of muscle
symptoms to en bloc biopsy at the site was the longest,
the abnormal hyperintense areas tended to be diffusely
distributed in the muscles, rather than distributed predominantly in marginal sites of the muscles.
MRI was sequentially performed twice before
treatment in 2 patients with DM (patients 7 and 11). In
patient 7, the rash preceded the onset of very mild
muscular symptoms. The first MRI revealed no abnormal hyperintense areas, whereas the second MRI, conducted 2 months later, revealed abnormal hyperintense
areas in the fascias surrounding the right vastus lateralis,
3754
YOSHIDA ET AL
Figure 1. STIR or fat-suppressed T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of transaxial sections of proximal muscle tissue of the extremities
in patients with newly diagnosed adult-onset dermatomyositis. A and B, Areas of high signal intensity (arrowheads) observed in the fascias
surrounding the bilateral semimembranosus, semitendinosus, and right vastus lateralis muscles in patient 4 (A), and predominantly in the marginal
sites of the bilateral rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius, and left semitendinosus muscles in patient 8 (B). C–F, Areas of high signal
intensity (arrowheads) on consecutive MRI of muscle tissue in patient 11. On the first MRI, hyperintense areas were observed in the fascias
surrounding the right deltoid, triceps brachii, and coracobrachialis muscles and the marginal sites of these muscles (C) and in the fascias surrounding
the bilateral vastus lateralis muscles (E). On the second MRI, performed 2 months later, the areas of high signal intensity observed in C had
progressed from the fascias and marginal sites of the muscles to central sites (D), and those observed in E had progressed from the fascias to marginal
sites of the muscles (F).
rectus femoris, and left sartorius muscles. In patient 11,
slight muscular symptoms occurred after the rash. The
first MRI showed abnormal hyperintense areas in the
fascias surrounding the right deltoid, triceps brachii,
coracobrachialis, and bilateral vastus lateralis muscles
(Figures 1C and E), and the second MRI performed 2
months later showed abnormal hyperintense areas in
those same fascias and muscles (Figures 1D and F).
In the patient with PMR, MRI revealed local
hyperintense areas in the fascia and muscle, but extensive areas of hyperintense signal, similar to those detected in patients with DM, were not detected. In the 3
patients with PM and the patient with PAN, significant
hyperintense areas were detected in the muscles, but no
significant hyperintense areas were revealed in the fascias. In the patient with undifferentiated myopathy, it
was difficult to evaluate inflammatory edema on muscle
MRI, because marked edema due to hypoalbuminemia
was present.
Histopathologic findings. En bloc biopsy showed
inflammatory infiltrates around the fascial small blood
vessels in all 14 patients with DM, and significant
fasciitis, defined as a TVIS of ⱖ3 in the fascia, was
histopathologically identified in biopsy samples from 12
patients (Figures 2A–D). In the muscle tissue, inflammatory infiltrates around the small blood vessels were
observed in 10 patients (Table 2 and Figure 2E),
whereas this was not detected in the muscle tissue from
4 patients (patients 2, 4, 5, and 7). All 4 of these latter
patients belonged to the early-biopsy group (Table 2).
Aggregates of inflammatory cells were observed around
the subfascial small blood vessels outside of the tendon,
at the muscle–tendon junction, in 4 patients (patients 7,
8, 11, and 13) (representative findings in patient 7 in
Figure 2C).
In all biopsy specimens from the patients with
DM, staining with elastic–van Gieson stain revealed that
the small blood vessels containing perivascular inflammatory infiltrates were not arteries, but rather were
blood capillaries, venules, and small veins (Figure 2D).
Capillaritis and phlebitis were detected, but typical
arteritis with fibrinoid necrosis was not detected in any
specimen. Eight specimens displayed perifascicular atrophy (Table 2). Structural changes in the muscle fibers
(atrophy, degeneration, regeneration, and central nuclei) tended to be correlated with the period from the
time of muscle symptom appearance to en bloc biopsy at
the site (results not shown).
Two specimens (from patients 4 and 7, both in
the early-biopsy group) showed structural changes in the
muscle fibers, e.g., perifascicular atrophy, even in the
absence of inflammatory cells around intramuscular
small blood vessels. In particular, patient 4 showed
marked structural changes (atrophy, degeneration, regeneration, and central nuclei) (Figure 2F).
In 1 of the 3 patients with PM, inflammatory cell
FASCIITIS AS A COMMON LESION OF DERMATOMYOSITIS
3755
Figure 2. Findings on light microscopic analysis of en bloc biopsy specimens, as revealed by staining with hematoxylin and eosin (H&E), Masson’s
trichrome (MT), or elastic–van Gieson (EVG), from patients with newly diagnosed adult-onset dermatomyositis. A, H&E-stained muscle tissue from
patient 5 exhibits fasciitis, as shown by mononuclear cell infiltration around the subfascial capillaries and venules (arrowheads). B, In muscle tissue
from patient 4, H&E staining reveals mononuclear cell infiltration around a subfascial venule. C and D, In patient 7, MT staining shows that
mononuclear cells are clustered around the subfascial capillaries and venules outside the tendon at the muscle–tendon junction (C), while
EVG-stained tissue displays no inflammatory infiltrates around a small artery with internal elastic membrane (arrowhead) and shows mononuclear
cell infiltration around an epifascial small vein (D). E, H&E-stained muscle tissue from patient 8 reveals mononuclear cell infiltration around the
intramuscular capillaries and venules in the interfascicular septa. F, Atrophy, degeneration, regeneration, and central nuclei are evident in the muscle
fibers of patient 4, as shown by H&E staining. (Original magnification ⫻ 100 in A; ⫻ 400 in B and D–F; ⫻ 200 in C.)
Table 2. Evaluation of the severity of inflammation and immunophenotype of mononuclear cells in the muscle and fascia of 14 patients with newly
diagnosed adult-onset dermatomyositis, grouped according to early- and late-biopsy samples*
Muscle
Group,
patient
Early biopsy
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Late biopsy
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
Fascia
Period from
symptom onset
to biopsy
TVIS
CD4:CD8
CD20
CD79␣
PA
TVIS
CD4:CD8
CD20
CD79␣
1
0
1
0
0
3
0
⬎1
–
⬎1
–
–
⬍1
–
⫹/–
–
–
–
–
⫹
–
NA
–
–
–
–
⫹
–
–
–
⫹
⫹
–
⫹
⫹
7
2
3
11
6
12
7
⬎1
⬎1
⬎1
⬎1
1
⬍1
⬎1
⫹/–
⫹/–
⫹
⫹
⫹
⫹
⫹
NA
⫹
⫹
⫹
⫹
⫹
⫹
1 week
3 weeks
3 weeks
4 weeks
5 weeks
6 weeks
7 weeks
7
5
3
6
8
5
5
⬎1
1
⬎1
⬎1
⬎1
⬎1
⬎1
⫹
⫹
⫹/–
⫹
⫹
⫹
⫹/–
⫹
⫹
⫹/–
⫹
⫹
⫹
⫹
⫹
–
–
–
⫹
⫹
⫹
4
5
3
11
2
6
7
⬎1
1
1
⬎1
⬎1
⬎1
⬎1
⫹
⫹
⫹/–
⫹
–
⫹
⫹/–
⫹
⫹
⫹/–
⫹
⫹
⫹
⫹
2 months
2 months
3 months
3 months
4 months
4 months
12 months
* The period from symptom onset to biopsy was defined as the time from muscle symptom appearance to en bloc biopsy at the involved site. Early
biopsy was defined as en bloc biopsy performed earlier than 2 months after the appearance of muscle symptoms, while late biopsy was that performed
ⱖ2 months after symptom appearance. Fasciitis was defined as a total vascular inflammation score (TVIS) of the fascia of ⱖ3. The ratio of CD4
to CD8 cells was graded as ⬎1, 1, or ⬍1, while the number of CD20⫹ B cells and CD79␣⫹ B or plasma cells was graded as no positive cells (–),
a few positive cells (⫹/–), or significant infiltration of positive cells (⫹). PA ⫽ perifascicular atrophy; NA ⫽ not assessed.
3756
infiltration at endomysial sites was severe, whereas it was
mild in 2 of the 3 patients with PM and in the patient
with undifferentiated myopathy. In the patient with
PAN, severe arteritis with fibrinoid necrosis in the
muscle was detected. In the patient with PMR, no
inflammatory infiltrates were seen in the muscle. Fasciitis was not detected in any of the 6 patients with other
rheumatic diseases.
Severity of vascular inflammation of the fascia
and muscle. In 10 specimens from the patients with DM,
the TVIS of the fascia was higher than the TVIS of the
muscle, whereas in 2 other specimens, the TVIS of the
fascia was lower than the TVIS of the muscle, and in the
remaining 2 specimens, the TVIS of the fascia and
muscle were equal (Table 2). In the early-biopsy group
(patients 1–7), the TVIS of the fascia was significantly
higher than the TVIS of the muscle (P ⫽ 0.0012) (Figure
YOSHIDA ET AL
3A). In the late-biopsy group (patients 8–14), the TVIS
of the fascia and that of the muscle were both high, with
no significant difference between these sites (P ⫽
0.7104) (Figure 3B). In the muscle, the TVIS in the
early-biopsy group was significantly lower than the TVIS
in the late-biopsy group (P ⫽ 0.0006) (Figure 3C). In the
fascia, the TVIS in the early-biopsy group and that in the
late-biopsy group were both high, with no significant
difference between groups (P ⫽ 0.4557) (Figure 3D). In
all 6 patients with other rheumatic diseases, the TVIS of
the fascia was 0.
The TVIS scores assigned by the 2 different
observers were nearly concordant. In 3 cases, the difference between the scores from the 2 observers was ⱖ3.
Thus, the TVIS scores in those 3 cases were re-reviewed
in more appropriate 4-mm2 areas, and the scores for the
re-reviewed areas reached concordance.
Immunohistochemical findings. Immunohistochemical analyses showed that in all specimens from the
patients with DM, CD4⫹ cells, CD20⫹ B cells,
CD79␣⫹ B or plasma cells, and CD3⫹ T cells were
mainly present among the inflammatory mononuclear
cells around the fascial and intramuscular small blood
vessels. CD68⫹ macrophages were scattered among the
inflammatory mononuclear cells, but were not clustered.
Sheets of macrophages were not observed. The CD4:
CD8 cell ratio was ⬎1 in almost all specimens (Table 2
and Figures 4A, B, D, and E). B cells or plasma cells
tended to concentrate at sites in which inflammatory
mononuclear cells were clustered (Figures 4C and F).
DISCUSSION
Figure 3. Vascular inflammation in en bloc biopsy specimens from 14
patients with newly diagnosed adult-onset dermatomyositis. The total
vascular inflammation score (TVIS) was determined in the muscle and
fascia of patients in the early-biopsy group (A), in whom the period
from the muscle symptom appearance to en bloc biopsy at the site was
⬍2 months, and in those in the late-biopsy group (B), in whom the
period from the muscle symptom appearance to en bloc biopsy at the
site was ⱖ2 months. The TVIS was also determined separately in the
muscle (C) and in the fascia (D) in the early- and late-biopsy groups.
Bars show the mean and SEM. ⴱ ⫽ P ⬍ 0.05.
In the present study, we found that fasciitis is a
common lesion in adult-onset DM. STIR or fatsuppressed T2-weighted MRI showed abnormal hyperintensity in the fascias in all 14 patients with adult-onset
DM. In addition, en bloc biopsy revealed capillaritis and
phlebitis in the fascia in all of the patients and significant
fasciitis, defined as a TVIS of the fascia ⱖ3, in most of
the patients. These results suggest that fascial edema on
MRI can be attributed to fasciitis associated with capillaritis and phlebitis. Kimball et al demonstrated that
STIR MRI could detect edema in the skin, subcutaneous
tissue, and fascia of patients with juvenile DM and that
these changes are very common in juvenile DM (12).
However, histopathologic evidence of fasciitis has previously been shown in only 2 patients, and both patients
had amyopathic DM (15,16). In contrast, we demonstrated that histopathologically evident fasciitis existed
not only in amyopathic DM but also in myopathic DM.
FASCIITIS AS A COMMON LESION OF DERMATOMYOSITIS
3757
Figure 4. Immunohistochemical staining of en bloc biopsy specimens from patients with newly diagnosed adult-onset dermatomyositis. A–C,
Staining revealed CD4⫹ cells (A), CD8⫹ cells (B), and CD20⫹ B cells (C) among mononuclear cells around the intramuscular venule in the
interfascicular septa of patient 13. D–F, Staining revealed CD4⫹ cells (D), CD8⫹ cells (E), and CD20⫹ B cells (F) among mononuclear cells
clustered around the subfascial small blood vessels outside the tendon at the muscle–tendon junction in patient 7. B and CD4⫹ cells were present
mainly among inflammatory mononuclear cells around small blood vessels in both the muscle and the fascia. The CD4:CD8 cell ratio was ⬎1 in
almost all specimens. (Original magnification ⫻ 400.)
Eosinophilic fasciitis and macrophagic myofasciitis (22)
were not considered in our patients, because none of the
patients showed infiltration of eosinophils or sheets of
large macrophages in the fascia.
Our results suggest that fasciitis is one of the
causes of the muscle symptoms in DM. We demonstrated that histopathologically evident fasciitis existed
even in DM without intramuscular inflammatory infiltrates. In muscle tissue, capillaries are found in reduced
numbers in patients with DM without inflammatory
infiltrates (23). A loss of functioning capillaries and
phenotypic changes in the endothelial cells could result
in local tissue hypoxia and metabolic disturbance (24–
27). Although these metabolic alterations could contribute to muscle fatigue (23), fasciitis may also contribute
to muscle symptoms such as myalgia, as suggested by the
findings in the 4 patients in the early-biopsy group who
showed no intramuscular inflammatory infiltrates. Identification of fasciitis may be helpful for diagnosing DM
in the absence of intramuscular inflammatory infiltrates.
It has been reported that the primary site of
inflammatory cell infiltration in DM is the intramuscular
microvasculature (2–4). In this regard, we found that the
TVIS of the fascia was high, whereas that of the muscle
was low in the early-biopsy group. The TVIS in the
late-biopsy group was equally high between the muscle
and the fascia. MRI also revealed a fascia-predominant
distribution of hyperintense areas in the early-biopsy
group, in contrast to that in the late-biopsy group, in
whom hyperintense areas were equally distributed in the
fascia and muscle. These findings suggest that the fascial
microvasculature is the primary target tissue of inflammatory cell infiltration in DM.
The degree of intramuscular inflammation differed significantly between the early- and late-biopsy
groups. The TVIS of the muscle was higher in the
late-biopsy group than in the early-biopsy group, and
TVIS of the fascia was comparably high in the 2 groups.
The MRI signal of the hyperintense areas in the muscle
was stronger in the late-biopsy group than in the earlybiopsy group, and that for the fascia was comparable
between the 2 groups. Thus, we can speculate that
inflammatory cell infiltration around the small blood
vessels occurs originally in the fascia and expands into
the muscle along the fascia and interfascicular septum.
Alternatively, the 2 groups may represent different types
3758
of DM, such as a fasciitis-dominant type and a mixed
type, in which, for the latter type, the extent of inflammation in the fascia and muscle is equal. A myositisdominant type may also exist, since inflammatory infiltrates in tissue specimens from patients 8 and 12 were
predominantly localized around the intramuscular microvasculature rather than the fascial microvasculature.
Furthermore, intriguing findings were obtained
from the MR images from 2 patients (patients 7 and 11),
in whom MRI of the extremities was performed twice
before treatment for DM. In patient 7, the first MRI
revealed no abnormal hyperintense area, but the second
MRI performed 2 months later showed abnormal hyperintense areas not in the muscles, but in the fascias. In
patient 11, abnormal hyperintense areas were detected
on the first MRI in the fascias, and on the second MRI
performed 2 months later, the hyperintense areas had
progressed from the fascias to marginal sites of the
muscles. These MRI findings suggest that inflammation
in myopathy progresses from the fascia to the muscle.
Immunohistochemistry revealed that in almost
all specimens from the patients with DM, B and CD4⫹
cells were present mainly among the inflammatory mononuclear cells around both the fascial and intramuscular
small blood vessels. In the muscle, the infiltrates contain
high percentages of B and CD4⫹ T cells, and the
proportion of B and CD4⫹ T cells is highest at perivascular sites and lowest at endomysial sites (28,29). Greenberg et al recently reported that the majority of CD4⫹
cells in muscle biopsy samples from patients with DM
are not helper T cells but plasmacytoid dendritic cells
(PDCs) (30). Although the CD4⫹ cells detected in our
study may also have included PDCs, the CD4:CD8 cell
ratio in the fascia was similar to that in the muscle.
These results indicate that capillaritis and phlebitis
present in the fascia are not caused by complications
from other diseases such as systemic vasculitis, according
to the definition and classification of vasculitis adopted
at the Chapel Hill Consensus Conference (31), but
rather can be attributed to DM, and this is also true for
capillaritis and phlebitis found in the muscle.
In the present study, en bloc biopsy combined
with MRI demonstrated that fasciitis is evident early
after the onset of muscle symptoms in DM. Allen et al
speculated that fasciitis may represent an early lesion in
the evolution of DM (15). To our knowledge, this is the
first study demonstrating fasciitis as an early lesion of
DM. In contrast, fasciitis was not histopathologically
detected in any of the 6 patients with other rheumatic
diseases, including the 3 patients with PM. Therefore,
fasciitis may be a lesion specific to DM rather than to
YOSHIDA ET AL
PM. However, the number of patients with PM was too
small to accurately determine the specific association of
fasciitis with DM. Further investigation is warranted to
address this issue.
Thus, fasciitis was histopathologically confirmed
in most of the patients with adult-onset DM and recognized as a common lesion that appears early after the
onset of muscle symptoms in DM. The fascial microvasculature is likely to be the primary site of inflammatory
cell infiltration in DM. The results of MRI suggest that
inflammation in myopathy accompanying DM
progresses from the fascia into the muscle. Muscle
symptoms such as myalgia in DM may be attributed to
fasciitis when the muscle biopsy reveals a lack of evidence of myositis.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
We are grateful to the doctors at the Department of
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Jikei University School of
Medicine, for their assistance in performing the en bloc biopsy,
and the doctors and staff at the Department of Pathology,
Clinical Service, Jikei University School of Medicine, for their
assistance with the immunohistochemical staining.
AUTHOR CONTRIBUTIONS
All authors were involved in drafting the article or revising it
critically for important intellectual content, and all authors approved
the final version to be published. Dr. Yoshida had full access to all of
the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the
data and the accuracy of the data analysis.
Study conception and design. Yoshida, Kurosaka.
Acquisition of data. Yoshida, Kurosaka, Takahashi, Hirai, Noda,
Ukichi, Furuya, Yanagimachi, Kingetsu, Yamada.
Analysis and interpretation of data. Yoshida, Joh, Matsushima,
Fukuda.
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combined, block, dermatomyositis, common, disease, early, onset, biopsy, fasciitis, lesions, demonstrated, magnetic, imagine, resonance
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