This article reviews the clinical, laboratory, and histopathologic features of sporadic inclusion body myositis (IBM) and explores its pathogenic overlap with inherited myopathies that have IBM-like pathology.
Sporadic IBM is the most common acquired muscle disease in patients older than 50 years of age and is becoming more prevalent because of the increasing age of the population, the emerging development of more inclusive diagnostic criteria, and the advent of a diagnostic autoantibody. No effective therapy is known, and the pathogenic mechanism remains unclear. Some pathogenic insight can be gleaned from other myopathies with pathologic similarities or hereditary inclusion body myopathies. Although clinically distinct from sporadic IBM, preclinical models of hereditary inclusion body myopathy have offered an opportunity to move some therapies toward clinical development.
Patients with sporadic IBM experience significant morbidity, and the disease is associated with a large unmet medical need. As therapies are developed, improved diagnosis will be essential. Early diagnosis relies on awareness, clinical history, physical examination, laboratory features, and appropriate muscle biopsy processing. Future research is needed to understand the natural history, identify genetic risk factors, and validate biomarkers to track disease progression. These steps are essential as we move toward therapeutic interventions.