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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 879703, 8 pages
Research Article

7-Tesla Magnetic Resonance Imaging Precisely and Noninvasively Reflects Inflammation and Remodeling of the Skeletal Muscle in a Mouse Model of Antisynthetase Syndrome

1Division of Regenerative Medicine, Stem Cells & Gene Therapy, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Via Olgettina 60, 20132 Milan, Italy
2Department of Radiology and Preclinical Imaging Facility, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Via Olgettina 60, 20132 Milan, Italy
3School of Medicine, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Via Olgettina 58, Milan, Italy
4University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL 33136, USA

Received 25 January 2014; Accepted 4 April 2014; Published 5 May 2014

Academic Editor: Dario Coletti

Copyright © 2014 Clara Sciorati et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Inflammatory myopathies comprise heterogeneous disorders. Their etiopathogenesis is poorly understood, because of the paucity of informative experimental models and of approaches for the noninvasive study of inflamed tissues. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides information about the state of the skeletal muscle that reflects various facets of inflammation and remodeling. This technique has been scarcely used in experimental models of inflammatory myopathies. We characterized the performance of MRI in a well-established mouse model of myositis and the antisynthetase syndrome, based on the immunization of wild-type mice with the amino-terminal fragment of histidyl-tRNA synthetase (HisRS). Over an eight-week period following myositis induction, MRI enabled precise identification of pathological events taking place in muscle tissue. Areas of edema and of active inflammation identified by histopathology paralleled muscle modifications detected noninvasively by MRI. Muscles changes were chronologically associated with the establishment of autoimmunity, as reflected by the development of anti-HisRS antibodies in the blood of immunized mice. MR imaging easily appreciated muscle damage and remodeling even if actual disruption of myofiber integrity (as assessed by serum concentrations of creatinine phosphokinase) was limited. Thus, MR imaging represents an informative and noninvasive analytical tool for studying in vivo immune-mediated muscle involvement.