Myositis research


Idiopathic inflammatory myopathy, myositis

Conditions associated with muscle inflammation are called inflammatory myopathies or myositis. Myositis is characterised mainly by muscle weakness, low muscle endurance and muscle pain.


Our main research goal

The aim of our research is to gain increased knowledge of the causes of myositis and the mechanisms that lead to muscle weakness and also to the high incidence of inflammation in both skeletal muscle and lungs in order to provide patients with the best possible treatment. The basis for our research projects is longitudinal studies of patients with myositis. By combining clinical outcome measures with investigations of molecular expression in repeated muscle biopsies and in peripheral blood after different interventions, pharmacological therapies, and physical exercise we hope to increase the understanding of these diseases. Another aim is to understand why both the muscle and the lung becomes a target of the immune system for certain patients.

To accomplish our goals we combine clinical epidemiological research with molecular research on patient samples and we use experimental systems with muscle cell cultures. Our research is performed at the Center for Molecular Medicine (CMM), Karolinska Institutet. We follow patients at Karolinska University Hospital in a systematic way. In addition we are part of a Swedish Myositis Network (SweMyoNet) and of an international myositis network (MyoNet),, where Professor Ingrid E. Lundberg is PI and we contribute to the international myositis registry EuroMyositis,, in which more than 5000 patients with idiopathic inflammatory myopathies have been enrolled. We are also part of several international collaborations.


Research areas

  • Physical exercise studies

  • Longitudinal studies on clinical material to predict biomarkers for prognosis

  • Epidemiological studies to identify risk factors and comorbidities

  • New treatments are being tested in clinical trials

  • Pathogenic studies of new target molecules

  • The association between inflammation in muscles and lung

  • Malignancy and myositis

  • Specific autoantibodies and its importance

  • Cardiac studies

  • Genetic studies to identify risk factors


When contributing to our research activities, please state: Myositis research, Ingrid Lundberg.


PhD theses from the group


Quan Tang (2018-08-31)

Immune mechanisms in chronic rheumatic muscle inflammation, myositis



John Svensson (2017-12-15)

Epidemiologic studies on rheumatic muscle inflammation, myositis


Joan Raouf (2017-02-21)
PGE2 and other lipids in rheumatic diseases 



Louise E. Ekholm (2016-11-08)
Autoantibodies and the type I interferon system in idiopathic inflammatory myopathies 


Cátia Cerqueira  (2016-01-28)
Studies on the role of autoantibodies and autoantigens in rheumatoid arthritis and myositis 



Mei Bruton (Zong) (2014-09-19)
Molecular mechanisms in idiopathic inflammatory myopathies 


Jayesh M. Pandya  (2014-08-12)
T cell subsets and disease mechanisms in inflammatory myopathies 


Malin Regardt  (2014-04-29)
Hand function, activity limitation and health-related quality of life in patients with polymyositis and dermatomyositis 



Li Alemo Munters  (2013-10-25)
Physical exercise as a targeted therapy in idiopathic inflammatory myopathies 



Ingela Loell (2012-05-24)

Polymyositis And Dermatomyositis - Inflammation, Muscle Structure & Immunosuppressive Treatment 



Christina Dorph  (2009-01-30)

Studies on interleukin-1 in idiopathic inflammatory myopathies 



Cecilia Wick (Grundtman) (2008-04-07)

Pathogenic mechanisms in idiopathic inflammatory myopathies 



Sevim Barbasso Helmers  (2007-11-02)

The role of autoantibodies in inflammatory myopathies 


Andreas Fasth  (2007-11-16)

CD28null T cells in rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory myopathies: Cellular characterization and clinical relevance 


Maryam Dastmalchi  (2007-10-12)

Studies of immunopathogenic mechanisms and treatment of chronic, inflammatory myopathies, myositis  



Maryam Fathi  (2006-11-17)

Interstitial lung disease in polymyositis and dermatomyositis 



Helene Alexanderson  (2003-08-22)

Exercise and outcome measures in patients with polymyositis and dermatomyositis 


Snjolaug Arnardottir  (2003-05-15)

Studies in sporadic inclusion body myositis 



Adla B. Hassan (2002-11-28)

Mixed connective tissue disease, myositis and systemic lupus erythematosus : Immunological and genetic studies in three related rheumatic autoimmune studies 


Pernilla Englund (Nyberg) (2002-11-14)

Immunopathogenic mechanisms in inflammatory myopathies 



Christer Malm (2001-09-21)

Immunological changes in human blood and skeletal muscle in response to physical exercise 


Gerdur Gröndal (2001-08-22)

Systemic lupus erythematosus : Pathogenesis and genetics with special reference to multicase families 


Selected publications

Full publication list at PubMed.

Tjärnlund A, Tang Q, Wick C, Dastmalchi M, Mann H, Tomasová Studýnková J, Chura R, Gullick N, Salerno R, Rönnelid J, Alexanderson H, Lindroos E, Aggarwal R, Gordon, Vencovský J, Lundberg IE. Abatacept in the treatment of adult dermatomyositis and polymyositis: a randomized, Phase IIb treatment delayed-start trial. Ann Rheum Dis, 2018 77:55-62.

Lundberg IE, Tjärnlund A, Bottai M, Werth VP, Pilkington C, Visser M, Alfredsson L, Amato AA, Barohn RJ, Liang MH, Singh JA, Aggarwal R, Arnardottir S, Chinoy H, Cooper RG, Dankó K, Dimachkie MM, Feldman BM, Torre IG, Gordon P, Hayashi T, Katz JD, Kohsaka H, Lachenbruch PA, Lang BA, Li Y, Oddis CV, Olesinska M, Reed AM, Rutkowska-Sak L, Sanner H, Selva-O'Callaghan A, Song YW, Vencovsky J, Ytterberg SR, Miller FW, Rider LG; International Myositis Classification Criteria Project consortium, The Euromyositis register and The Juvenile Dermatomyositis Cohort Biomarker Study and Repository (JDRG) (UK and Ireland). 2017 European League Against Rheumatism/American College of Rheumatology classification criteria for adult and juvenile idiopathic inflammatory myopathies and their major subgroups. Ann Rheum Dis. 2017 Dec;76(12):1955-1964.

Svensson J, Holmqvist M, Lundberg IE, Arkema EV. Infections and respiratory tract disease as risk factors for idiopathic inflammatory myopathies: a population-based case-control study. Ann Rheum Dis. 2017 76:1803-1808.

Lilleker JB, Vencovsky J, Wang G, Wedderburn LR, Diederichsen LP, Schmidt J, Oakley P, Benveniste O, Danieli MG, Danko K, Thuy NTP, Vazquez-Del Mercado M, Andersson H, De Paepe B, deBleecker JL, Maurer B, McCann LJ, Pipitone N, McHugh N, Betteridge ZE, New P, Cooper RG, Ollier WE, Lamb JA, Krogh NS, Lundberg IE, Chinoy H; all EuroMyositis contributors. The EuroMyositis registry: an international collaborative tool to facilitate myositis research. Ann Rheum Dis. 2018 77:30-39.

Boehler JF, Hogarth MW, Barberio MD, Novak JS, Ghimbovschi S, Brown KJ, Alemo Munters L, Loell I, Chen YW, Gordish-Dressman H, Alexanderson H, Lundberg IE, Nagaraju K. Effect of endurance exercise on microRNAs in myositis skeletal muscle-A randomized controlled study. PLoS One. 2017 Aug 22;12(8):e0183292

Svensson J, Arkema EV, Lundberg IE, Holmqvist M. Incidence and prevalence of idiopathic inflammatory myopathies in Sweden: a nationwide population-based study. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2017 May 1;56(5):802-810.

Lu X, Tang Q, Lindh M, Dastmalchi M, Alexanderson H, Popovic Silwerfeldt K, Agerberth B, Lundberg IE, Wick C. The host defense peptide LL-37 a possible inducer of the type I interferon system in patients with polymyositis and dermatomyositis. J Autoimmun. 2017 Mar;78:46-56.

Ekholm L, Kahlenberg JM, Barbasso Helmers S, Tjärnlund A, Yalavarthi S, Zhao W, Seto N, Betteridge Z, Lundberg IE, Kaplan MJ. Dysfunction of endothelial progenitor cells is associated with the type I IFN pathway in patients with polymyositis and dermatomyositis. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2016 Nov;55(11):1987-1992.

Munters LA, Loell I, Ossipova E, Raouf J, Dastmalchi M, Lindroos E, Chen YW, Esbjörnsson M, Korotkova M, Alexanderson H, Nagaraju K, Crofford LJ, Jakobsson PJ, Lundberg IE. Endurance Exercise Improves Molecular Pathways of Aerobic Metabolism in Patients With Myositis. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2016 Jul;68(7):1738-50.

Albrecht I, Wick C, Hallgren Å, Tjärnlund A, Nagaraju K, Andrade F, Thompson K, Coley W, Phadke A, Diaz-Gallo LM, Bottai M, Nennesmo I, Chemin K, Herrath J, Johansson K, Wikberg A, Ytterberg AJ, Zubarev RA, Danielsson O, Krystufkova O, Vencovsky J, Landegren N, Wahren-Herlenius M, Padyukov L, Kämpe O, Lundberg IE. Development of autoantibodies against muscle-specific FHL1 in severe inflammatory myopathies. J Clin Invest. 2015 Dec;125(12):4612-24.