Studies of the Natural History and Pathogenesis of Autoimmune/Connective Tissue Diseases
This study will define the major genetic risk and protective factors for idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIM), a group of immune disorders affecting connective tissues such as muscles. It will also identify new environmental risk factors for IIM and identify immune responses in myositis and related diseases. There are many forms of IIMs, and the causes of these diseases are unknown. However, scientists suspect that they result when people with some genetic factors that predispose them-that is, put them at greater risk-are exposed to certain environmental triggers. Some of those triggers include food, drugs, biologics (such as a vaccine to prevent disease), medical devices and occupational exposures.
Patients, including children under 18, who had a diagnosis of myositis, a related autoimmune disease, or a rheumatic disease, as well as their blood relatives, and control subjects who were in good health have already been recruited for this study.
The evaluation consisted of one outpatient visit to the patient's doctor, who will obtain a medical history and conduct a physician examination. Patients spent 20 to 30 minutes to answer written questions. There was a blood collection of about 6 tablespoons. If there was a major change in patients' medical conditions, they were asked to return for a second outpatient evaluation to determine whether any of the blood tests or antibodies, which show an immune response, had changed. Blood samples collected will be used only for laboratory research studies. The samples have been identified by a code, and all other identifying information have been removed.
During the study, researchers will explore possible environmental risk factors, including studies of infectious and non-infectious agents. They will analyze the blood for genetic markers and test for certain antibodies. Laboratory results will be evaluated as they relate to the signs, symptoms, and severity of patients' illnesses. That would help researchers to better understand patterns of the diseases and the outcomes for patients.
This study will not have a direct benefit for patients. However, results from the study can be made available to patients' doctors for use in appropriate care. Also, it is hoped that information gained can help other people in the future.
Autoimmune/Connective Tissue Diseases
Idiopathic Inflammatory Myopathies
|Official Title:||Studies of the Natural History and Pathogenesis of Autoimmune/Connective Tissue Diseases|
|Study Start Date:||July 2005|
Individuals who develop chronic harmful inflammation in association with self-reactive autoantibodies or T cells are said to have autoimmune diseases. The causes of these diseases are unknown but they are thought to occur in genetically susceptible individuals after exposure to selected environmental agents. There are many forms of these diseases, but we have been focusing on one of the rarest and most poorly-studied group of autoimmune disorders, known as the Idiopathic Inflammatory Myopathies (IIM). This heterogeneous group of diseases includes polymyositis, dermatomyositis and related disorders. This is a natural history protocol designed to continue our study of these diseases and begin the evaluation of related connective tissue disorders associated with environmental exposures. We plan to further delineate important groups of patients and familial cases, and obtain useful material for further investigations of the clinical presentations, etiology, pathogenesis, and immunologic abnormalities of autoimmune/connective tissue diseases. Clinical data and patient blood, urine and tissue specimens have been collected by referring physicians and sent to us. The blood samples have been separated into cells and plasma, frozen and then placed into cell and plasma banks. Often the diagnosis of an IIM can be confused with other illness (such as adult-onset dystrophies), and therefore, we have also included patients with other illnesses (who are referred with a preliminary diagnosis of an IIM or an unknown myopathy), including patients with other autoimmune diseases. In order to understand more fully the genetic risk factors for these diseases, family members of selected patients who have several blood relatives with autoimmune or connective tissue diseases will also be studied. In summary, this natural history protocol will attempt, through a series of hypothesis-testing and hypothesis-generating studies, to obtain new information regarding the clinical presentation, risk and protective factors, pathogeneses and prognostic features for myositis and related conditions.
|United States, North Carolina|
|NIEHS, Research Triangle Park|
|Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, United States, 27709|
|Principal Investigator:||Frederick W Miller, M.D.||National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)|