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To date, no cause of polymyositis has been isolated by researchers. There are indicators of heredity (genetic) susceptibility that can be found in some patients. There is indirect evidence of infection by a virus that has yet to be identified in a form of polymyositis that is particularly resistant to treatment, called inclusion body myositis. This form of polymyositis is diagnosed by the pathologist, a physician specialist who interprets the microscope findings of muscle tissue. The muscle tissue in this form of polymyositis displays clear areas within the muscle cells (called vacuoles) when viewed under the magnification of a microscope.

Researchers have reported that T cells of the immune system in some polymyositis or dermatomyositis patients react against cytomegalovirus (CMV) and detectable antibodies against CMV are present. There may be subsets of patients who develop their disease, in part, because of infection with this particular virus.

Aside from diseases with which polymyositis can be associated (as mentioned above), many other diseases and conditions can mimic polymyositis. These include nerve-muscle diseases (such as muscular dystrophies), drug toxins (such as alcohol, cocaine, steroids, colchicine, hydroxychloroquine, and cholesterol-lowering drugs, called statins), metabolic disorders (where muscle cells are unable to process chemicals normally), hormone disorders (such as abnormal thyroid), calcium and magnesium conditions, and infectious diseases (such as influenza virus, AIDS, streptococcus and Lyme bacteria, pork tapeworm, and schistosomiasis).

This answer should not be considered medical advice...down arrowThis answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.up arrow

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Archived: March 20, 2014

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