OBJECTIVE--To analyse muscle respiratory chain enzymes in idiopathic inflammatory myopathy. METHODS--Four consecutive female patients seen at our hospital with idiopathic inflammatory myopathy were studied. Muscle histochemical staining included NADH tetrazolium reductase and succinate dehydrogenase tests. Activity of rotenone sensitive NADH cytochrome c reductase (complex I and III) succinate dehydrogenase (complex II), succinate cytochrome c reductase (complex II and III), cytochrome c oxidase (complex IV), and citrate synthase (a mitochondrial matrix enzyme), was measured spectrophotometrically in muscle homogenates. Free carnitine, and short and long chain acylcarnitine esters were determined in muscle homogenates by a radiochemical procedure. RESULTS--Three patients had mitochondrial proliferation in nonregenerating muscle fibres; these patients had defects of respiratory chain enzyme complexes. Carnitine concentrations, measured in two of the four patients, revealed carnitine deficiency in one. CONCLUSION--Our results suggest that mitochondrial dysfunction may be present in patients with inflammatory myositis.
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