Dermatomyositis (DM) is a connective-tissue disease related to polymyositis (PM) that is characterized by inflammation of the muscles and the skin. While DM most frequently affects the skin and muscles, it is a systemic disorder that may also affect the joints, the esophagus, the lungs, and the heart.
Dermatomyositis can be treated with steroids and a mild dose of chemotherapy. Specialized exercise therapy may supplement treatment to enhance quality of life. Medications to help relieve symptoms include: Prednisolone, Methotrexate, Mycophenolate, Hydroxychloroquine, Intravenous immunoglobulin, Azathioprine, Cyclophosphamide, Tacrolimus, Infliximab, Rituximab.
Major research on disease
Researchers studying the underlying mechanisms that cause inflammatory myopathies, such as dermatomyositis (DM). Several projects are centered around understanding precisely what triggers the immune system to mistakenly attack muscle tissue, with the ultimate goal of stopping this type of attack. Some researchers are developing cellular models of muscle injury in DM and are screening these models to learn the basic mechanisms by which muscle injury occurs in this disease. They're paying particular attention to the role of interferons, proteins normally produced by immune system cells in response to a viral infection, in DM. There's evidence that type 1 interferons injure muscle in DM, and the researchers are seeking to identify compounds that prevent such injury. Other investigators are studying inflammatory myopathies in dogs. They believe these animals may offer insight into the mechanisms by which autoimmunity develops in these diseases in humans.