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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 949730, 10 pages
Review Article

Vitamin D Receptor Agonists: Suitable Candidates as Novel Therapeutic Options in Autoimmune Inflammatory Myopathy

Section of Health Sciences, Department of Movement, Human and Health Sciences, University of Rome Foro Italico, 00135 Rome, Italy

Received 27 December 2013; Accepted 9 April 2014; Published 7 May 2014

Academic Editor: Marina Bouché

Copyright © 2014 Clara Crescioli. 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.


The primary aim in the treatment of autoimmune inflammatory myopathies (IMs) is to recover muscle function. The presence of immune/inflammatory cell infiltrates within muscle tissues represents the common feature of different IM subtypes, albeit a correlation between muscular damage extent and inflammation degree is often lacking. Treatments for IMs are based on life-long immunosuppressive therapy, with the well known adverse effects; recovery is incomplete for many patients. More effective therapies, with reduced side-effects, are highly desirable. Vitamin D receptor (VDR) agonists emerge to retain pleiotropic anti-inflammatory properties, since they regulate innate and adaptive immunity by switching the immune response from proinflammatory T helper 1 (Th1) type to tolerogenic T helper 2 (Th2) type dominance. In skeletal muscle cells less hypercalcemic VDR ligands target powerful mediators of inflammation, such as TNFα and TNFα driven paths, without affecting immune or muscle cells viability, retaining the potentiality to counteract Th1 driven overreactivity established by the self-enhancing inflammatory loop between immune and skeletal muscle cells. This review summarizes those features of VDR agonists as candidates in future treatment of IM.