Diagnostic modelling and therapeutic monitoring of immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy: Role of electrical myotonia

James D. Triplett, Shahar Shelly, Guy Livne, Margherita Milone, Charles D. Kassardjian, Teerin Liewluck, Cecilia Kelly, Elie Naddaf, Ruple S. Laughlin, Christopher J. Lamb, Devon Rubin, Elliot L. Dimberg, Divanshu Dubey, John R. Mills, Jay Mandrekar, Christopher J. Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Delayed diagnosis of immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy leads to increased morbidity. Patients with the chronic course without 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme-A reductase-IgG or signal recognition particle-IgG are often challenging to diagnose. Immunotherapy response can also be difficult to assess. We created a statistical model to assist immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy diagnosis. Electrical myotonia versus fibrillations were reviewed as biomarkers for immunotherapy treatment response. Identified were 119 immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy cases and 938 other myopathy patients. Inclusion criteria included all having electrophysiological evaluations, muscle biopsies showing inflammatory/necrotizing myopathies, comprehensively recorded neurological examinations, and creatine kinase values. Electrical myotonia was recorded in 56% (67/119) of retrospective and 67% (20/30) of our validation immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy cohorts, and significantly (P < 0.001) favoured immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy over other myopathies: sporadic inclusion body myositis (odds ratio = 4.78); dermatomyositis (odds ratio = 10.61); non-specific inflammatory myopathies (odds ratio = 8.46); limb-girdle muscular dystrophies (odds ratio = 5.34) or mitochondrial myopathies (odds ratio = 14.17). Electrical myotonia occurred in immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy seropositive (3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme-A reductase-IgG 70%, 37/53; signal recognition particle-IgG 29%, 5/17) and seronegative (51%, 25/49). Multivariate regression analysis of 20 variables identified 8 (including electrical myotonia) in combination accurately predicted immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy (97.1% area-under-curve). The model was validated in a separate cohort of 30 immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy cases. Delayed diagnosis of cases with electrical myotonia occurred in 24% (16/67, mean 8 months; range 0-194). Half (8/19) had a chronic course and were seronegative, with high model prediction (>86%) at the first visit. Inherited myopathies were commonly first suspected in them. Follow-up evaluation in patients with electrical myotonia on immunotherapy was available in 19 (median 21 months, range 2-124) which reduced from 36% (58/162) of muscles to 7% (8/121; P < 0.001). Reduced myotonia correlated with immunotherapy response in 64% (9/14) as well as with median creatine kinase reduction of 1779 U/l (range 401-9238, P < 0.001). Modelling clinical features with electrical myotonia is especially helpful in immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy diagnostic suspicion among chronic indolent and seronegative cases. Electrical myotonia favours immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy diagnosis and can serve as an adjuvant immunotherapy biomarker.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberfcaa191
JournalBrain Communications
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2020


  • SRP54
  • immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy
  • myositis
  • myotonia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Diagnostic modelling and therapeutic monitoring of immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy: Role of electrical myotonia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this