What is the role of viruses in the etiology of polymyositis?

Updated: Jun 13, 2020
  • Author: Mythili Seetharaman, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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The factors triggering a T-cell–mediated process in polymyositis are unclear. Viruses have been implicated; so far, however, the only viruses that have been etiologically connected with the disease are the human retroviruses human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and human T-cell lymphotrophic virus type I (HTLV-I), the simian retroviruses, and coxsackievirus B. Those viruses may directly invade the muscle tissue, damaging the vascular endothelium and releasing cytokines, which then induce abnormal expression of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) and render the muscle susceptible to destruction.

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