Abstract in English:Improving the course and outcome of patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome presents a challenge. By understanding the immune status of a patient, physicians can consider manipulating proinflammatory systems more rationally. In this context, corticosteroids could be a therapeutic tool in the armamentarium against acute respiratory distress syndrome. Corticosteroid therapy has been studied in three situations: prevention in high-risk patients, early treatment with high-dose, short-course therapy, and prolonged therapy in unresolving cases. There are differences between the corticosteroid trials of the past and recent trials: today, treatment starts 2-10 days after disease onset in patients that failed to improve; in the past, the corticosteroid doses employed were 5-140 times higher than those used now. Additionally, in the past treatment consisted of administering one to four doses every 6 h (methylprednisolone, 30 mg/kg) versus prolonging treatment as long as necessary in the new trials (2 mg kg-1 day-1 every 6 h). The variable response to corticosteroid treatment could be attributed to the heterogeneous biochemical and molecular mechanisms activated in response to different initial insults. Numerous factors need to be taken into account when corticosteroids are used to treat acute respiratory distress syndrome: the specificity of inhibition, the duration and degree of inhibition, and the timing of inhibition. The major continuing problem is when to administer corticosteroids and how to monitor their use. The inflammatory mechanisms are continuous and cyclic, sometimes causing deterioration or improvement of lung function. This article reviews the mechanisms of action of corticosteroids and the results of experimental and clinical studies regarding the use of corticosteroids in acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Abstract in English:Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by the presence of inflammatory synovitis and destruction of joint cartilage and bone. Tissue proteinases released by synovia, chondrocytes and pannus can cause cartilage destruction and cytokine-activated osteoclasts have been implicated in bone erosions. Rheumatoid arthritis synovial tissues produce a variety of cytokines and growth factors that induce monocyte differentiation to osteoclasts and their proliferation, activation and longer survival in tissues. More recently, a major role in bone erosion has been attributed to the receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa B ligand (RANKL) released by activated lymphocytes and osteoblasts. In fact, osteoclasts are markedly activated after RANKL binding to the cognate RANK expressed on the surface of these cells. RANKL expression can be upregulated by bone-resorbing factors such as glucocorticoids, vitamin D3, interleukin 1 (IL-1), IL-6, IL-11, IL-17, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, prostaglandin E2, or parathyroid hormone-related peptide. Supporting this idea, inhibition of RANKL by osteoprotegerin, a natural soluble RANKL receptor, prevents bone loss in experimental models. Tumor growth factor-ß released from bone during active bone resorption has been suggested as one feedback mechanism for upregulating osteoprotegerin and estrogen can increase its production on osteoblasts. Modulation of these systems provides the opportunity to inhibit bone loss and deformity in chronic arthritis.
Abstract in English:Because low tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) production has been reported in malnourished children, in contrast with high production of TNF-alpha in experimental protein-energy malnutrition, we reevaluated the production of TNF-alpha in whole blood cultures from children with primary malnutrition free from infection, and in healthy sex- and age-matched controls. Mononuclear cells in blood diluted 1:5 in endotoxin-free medium released TNF-alpha for 24 h. Spontaneously released TNF-alpha levels (mean ± SEM), as measured by enzyme immunoassay in the supernatants of unstimulated 24-h cultures, were 10,941 ± 2,591 pg/ml in children with malnutrition (N = 11) and 533 ± 267 pg/ml in controls (N = 18) (P < 0.0001). TNF-alpha production was increased by stimulation with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), with maximal production of 67,341 ± 16,580 pg/ml TNF-alpha in malnourished children and 25,198 ± 2,493 pg/ml in controls (P = 0.002). In control subjects, LPS dose-dependently induced TNF-alpha production, with maximal responses obtained at 2000 ng/ml. In contrast, malnourished patients produced significantly more TNF-alpha with 0.02-200 ng/ml LPS, responded maximally at a 10-fold lower LPS concentration (200 ng/ml), and presented high-dose inhibition at 2000 ng/ml. TNF-alpha production a) was significantly influenced by LPS concentration in control subjects, but not in malnourished children, who responded strongly to very low LPS concentrations, and b) presented a significant, negative correlation (r = -0.703, P = 0.023) between spontaneous release and the LPS concentration that elicited maximal responses in malnourished patients. These findings indicate that malnourished children are not deficient in TNF-alpha production, and suggest that their cells are primed for increased TNF-alpha production.
Abstract in English:We hypothesized that chronic oral administration of the phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor sildenafil could improve the exercise capacity and pulmonary hemodynamics in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) on the basis of previous short-term studies. We tested this hypothesis in 14 subjects with PAH, including seven patients with the idiopathic form and seven patients with atrial septal defects, but no other congenital heart abnormalities. Patients were subjected to a 6-min walk test and dyspnea was graded according to the Borg scale. Pulmonary flow and pressures were measured by Doppler echocardiography. Patients were given sildenafil, 75 mg orally three times a day, and followed up for 1 year. Sildenafil therapy resulted in the following changes: increase in the 6-min walk distance from a median value of 387 m (range 0 to 484 m) to 462 m (range 408 to 588 m; P < 0.01), improvement of the Borg dyspnea score from 4.0 (median value) to 3.0 (P < 0.01), and increased pulmonary flow (velocity-time integral) from a median value of 0.12 (range 0.08 to 0.25) to 0.23 (range 0.11 to 0.40; P < 0.01) with no changes in pulmonary pressures. In one patient with pulmonary veno-occlusive disease diagnosed by a lung biopsy, sildenafil had a better effect on the pulmonary wedge pressure than inhaled nitric oxide (15 and 29 mmHg, respectively, acute test). He walked 112 m at baseline and 408 m at one year. One patient died at 11 months of treatment. No other relevant events occurred. Thus, chronic administration of sildenafil improves the physical capacity of PAH patients and may be beneficial in selected cases of veno-occlusive disease.
Abstract in English:With the aim of investigating the presence of latent inflammatory process in the lungs of patients with Crohn's disease, 15 patients with Crohn's disease were evaluated by spirometry, the methacholine challenge test, induced sputum, and skin tests for inhaled antigens. Serum IgE, erythrocyte sedimentation rate and hematocrit were also determined. The patients were compared with 20 healthy controls by the Mann-Whitney and Fisher exact tests. Their respiratory physical examination was normal. None had a personal or family history of clinical atopy. None had a previous history of pulmonary disease, smoking or toxic bronchopulmonary exposure. None had sinusitis, migraine, diabetes mellitus, or cardiac failure. Four (26.6%) of the patients with Crohn's disease had a positive methacholine challenge test whereas none of the 20 controls had a positive methacholine test (P = 0.026, Fisher exact test). Patients with Crohn's disease had a higher level of lymphocytes in induced sputum than controls (mean 14.59%, range 3.2-50 vs 5.46%, 0-26.92%, respectively; P = 0.011, Mann-Whitney test). Patients with Crohn's disease and a positive methacholine challenge test had an even higher percentage of lymphocytes in induced sputum compared with patients with Crohn's disease and a negative methacholine test (mean 24.88%, range 12.87-50 vs 10.48%, 3.2-21.69%; P = 0.047, Mann-Whitney test). The simultaneous findings of bronchopulmonary lymphocytosis and bronchial hyperresponsiveness in patients with Crohn's disease were not reported up to now. These results suggest that patients with Crohn's disease present a subclinical inflammatory process despite the absence of pulmonary symptoms.
Abstract in English:Our hypothesis is that iron accumulated in tissue, rather than in serum, may compromise cardiovascular control. Male Fischer 344 rats weighing 180 to 220 g were divided into 2 groups. In the serum iron overload group (SIO, N = 12), 20 mg elemental iron was injected ip daily for 7 days. In the tissue iron overload group (TIO, N = 19), a smaller amount of elemental iron was injected (10 mg, daily) for 5 days followed by a resting period of 7 days. Reflex heart rate responses were elicited by iv injections of either phenylephrine (0.5 to 5.0 µg/kg) or sodium nitroprusside (1.0 to 10.0 µg/kg). Baroreflex curves were determined and fitted to sigmoidal equations and the baroreflex gain coefficient was evaluated. To evaluate the role of other than a direct effect of iron on tissue, acute treatment with the iron chelator deferoxamine (20 mg/kg, iv) was performed on the TIO group and the baroreflex was re-evaluated. At the end of the experiments, evaluation of iron levels in serum confirmed a pronounced overload for the SIO group (30-fold), in contrast to the TIO group (2-fold). Tissue levels of iron, however, were higher in the TIO group. The SIO protocol did not produce significant alterations in the baroreflex curve response, while the TIO protocol produced a nearly 2-fold increase in baroreflex gain (-4.34 ± 0.74 and -7.93 ± 1.08 bpm/mmHg, respectively). The TIO protocol animals treated with deferoxamine returned to sham levels of baroreflex gain (-3.7 ± 0.3 sham vs -3.6 ± 0.2 bpm/mmHg) 30 min after the injection. Our results indicate an effect of tissue iron overload on the enhancement of baroreflex sensitivity.
Abstract in English:Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) disorder was studied in children and adolescents with chronic and/or recurrent rhinosinusitis not associated with bronchial asthma. Ten children with a clinical and radiological diagnosis of chronic and/or recurrent rhinosinusitis, consecutively attended at the Pediatric Otolaryngology Outpatient Clinic, Federal University of São Paulo, were evaluated. Prolonged esophageal pH monitoring was used to investigate GER disorder. The mean age of the ten patients evaluated (eight males) was 7.4 ± 2.4 years. Two patients presented vomiting as a clinical manifestation and one patient presented retrosternal pain with a burning sensation. Twenty-four-hour esophageal pH monitoring was performed using the Sandhill apparatus. An antimony probe electrode was placed in the lower third of the esophagus, confirmed by fluoroscopy and later by a chest X-ray. The parameters analyzed by esophageal pH monitoring included: total percent time of the presence of acid esophageal pH, i.e., pH below 4 (<4.2%); total number of acid episodes (<50 episodes); number of reflux episodes longer than 5 min (3 or less), and duration of the longest reflux episode (<9.2 min). One patient (1/10, 10%) presented a 24-h esophageal pH profile compatible with GER disorder. This data suggest that an association between chronic rhinosinusitis not associated with bronchial asthma and GER disorder may exist in children and adolescents, especially in those with compatible GER disorder symptoms. In these cases, 24-h esophageal pH monitoring should be performed before indicating surgery, since the present data suggest that 10% of chronic rhinosinusitis surgeries can be eliminated.
Abstract in English:Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a sight-threatening chronic complication of diabetes mellitus and is the leading cause of acquired blindness in adults. In this cross-sectional study, we investigated the prevalence of and the factors associated with DR in an analysis of 210 consecutive and unrelated Brazilian Caucasians with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Retinopathy was evaluated by ophthalmoscopy and/or biomicroscopy through dilated pupils. The relationship between clinical and metabolic variables and the presence of DR was assessed by logistic regression analysis. DR was detected in 99 of the 210 patients (47%). In the univariate logistic regression analyses, male sex, duration of diabetes, body mass index, glycated hemoglobin, C-peptide, LDL cholesterol, smoking, and albumin excretion rate were found to be associated with the presence of DR. However, the multiple logistic regression analysis showed that only duration of diabetes (odds ratio (OR) = 1.15, 95% CI = 1.09-1.22; P < 0.001), glycated hemoglobin (OR = 1.21, 95% CI = 1.01-1.46; P = 0.047) and albumin excretion rate >100 µg/min (OR = 12.72, 95% CI = 3.89-41.56; P < 0.001) were independently associated with DR. Although DR was found to be frequent among Brazilian type 2 diabetic patients, its prevalence was within the range observed in other Caucasian populations. Our findings emphasize the need for good glycemic control in order to prevent or delay the onset of DR, since the most well-known risk factors for the development of this complication in type 2 diabetes mellitus, such as duration of diabetes, glycated hemoglobin and albumin excretion rate were independently related to DR.
Abstract in English:In order to assess the effect of air pollution on pediatric respiratory morbidity, we carried out a time series study using daily levels of PM10, SO2, NO2, ozone, and CO and daily numbers of pediatric respiratory emergency room visits and hospital admissions at the Children's Institute of the University of São Paulo Medical School, from August 1996 to August 1997. In this period there were 43,635 hospital emergency room visits, 4534 of which were due to lower respiratory tract disease. The total number of hospital admissions was 6785, 1021 of which were due to lower respiratory tract infectious and/or obstructive diseases. The three health end-points under investigation were the daily number of emergency room visits due to lower respiratory tract diseases, hospital admissions due to pneumonia, and hospital admissions due to asthma or bronchiolitis. Generalized additive Poisson regression models were fitted, controlling for smooth functions of time, temperature and humidity, and an indicator of weekdays. NO2 was positively associated with all outcomes. Interquartile range increases (65.04 µg/m³) in NO2 moving averages were associated with an 18.4% increase (95% confidence interval, 95% CI = 12.5-24.3) in emergency room visits due to lower respiratory tract diseases (4-day moving average), a 17.6% increase (95% CI = 3.3-32.7) in hospital admissions due to pneumonia or bronchopneumonia (3-day moving average), and a 31.4% increase (95% CI = 7.2-55.7) in hospital admissions due to asthma or bronchiolitis (2-day moving average). The study showed that air pollution considerably affects children's respiratory morbidity, deserving attention from the health authorities.
Abstract in English:Human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8) appears to be transmitted mainly by sexual contact. However, several studies suggest that in developing countries the infection may be acquired early in life by routes other than sexual transmission. The present study estimated the seroprevalence of HHV-8 in Brazilian children born to HIV-1-infected mothers. The serum samples were collected in a cross-sectional cohort study from 99 children born to HIV-infected mothers (median age 3.27 years; range 1.5-13.8 years) attending the outpatient clinic of the Federal University of São Paulo. IgG antibodies to HHV-8 latency-associated nuclear antigen and lytic phase antigens were detected by immunofluorescence assays. The samples tested were collected from children aged 12 months or older to exclude the possibility of cross-placental antibody transport. The total prevalence of anti-lytic antibodies in this population (5/99; 5%) reveals that HHV-8 infection can occur during childhood. Children aged 1.5 to 2 years had a seroprevalence of 2% (1/50) and children aged 3.25 to 13.8 years had a seroprevalence of 8% (4/49). This difference was not statistically significant, probably because of the small size of the sample, but it suggests that HHV-8 infection occurs more commonly late in infancy. Further prospective studies are necessary to evaluate the timing and risk factors for primary HHV-8 infection in the pediatric population.
Abstract in English:Viruses share antigenic sites with normal host cell components, a phenomenon known as molecular mimicry. It has long been suggested that viral infections might trigger an autoimmune response by several mechanisms including molecular mimicry. More than 600 antiviral monoclonal antibodies generated against 11 different viruses have been reported to react with 3.5% of cells specific for uninfected mouse organs. The main pathological feature of tropical spastic paraparesis/human T-lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-I)-associated myelopathy (TSP/HAM) is a chronic inflammation of the spinal cord characterized by perivascular cuffing of mononuclear cells accompanied by parenchymal lymphocytic infiltration. We detected the presence of autoantibodies against a 98- to 100-kDa protein of in vitro cultured human astrocytes and a 33- to 35-kDa protein from normal human brain in the serum of HTLV-I-seropositive individuals. The two cell proteins exhibited molecular mimicry with HTLV-I gag and tax proteins in TSP/HAM patients, respectively. Furthermore, the location of 33- to 35-kDa protein cross-reaction correlated with the anatomical spinal cord areas (in the rat model) in which axonal damage has been reported in several cases of TSP/HAM patients. Our experimental evidence strongly suggests that the demyelinating process occurring in TSP/HAM may be mediated by molecular mimicry between domains of some viral proteins and normal cellular targets of the spinal cord sections involved in the neurodegeneration.
Abstract in English:Serum antibodies specific for the capsular polysaccharides of Streptococcus pneumoniae provide protection against invasive pneumococcal infection. In Brazil, this vaccine has been used for people over 65 years with clinical risk to develop pneumococcal infection since 1999. We evaluated the immune response of 102 elderly subjects (75.5% females and 24.5% males) with a mean age of 71 years, and 19 young healthy adults (63.2% females and 36.8% males) with a mean age of 27 years. The elderly study group consisted of outpatients who received follow-up care in the Geriatric Department of General Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, University of São Paulo. None had acute illness at the time of vaccination. Both groups were immunized with one intra-deltoid injection with 0.5 ml of a 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine. The total IgG specific antibody concentrations to capsular polysaccharides 1, 3, 5, 6B, 8, and 14 were determined against pre- and 1-month post-vaccination sera. All samples were analyzed according to the second-generation pneumococcal polysaccharide ELISA protocol. We observed that the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine evoked consistent antibody increase for serotypes 1, 5, 6B, 8, and 14 (geometric mean concentration increase of 2.46 in the elderly and 2.84 in the young adults). Otherwise, we observed no increase in antibody concentration for serotype 3 in both groups.
Abstract in English:The objective of the present study was to translate the Kidney Disease Quality of Life - Short Form (KDQOL-SF™1.3) questionnaire into Portuguese to adapt it culturally and validate it for the Brazilian population. The KDQOL-SF was translated into Portuguese and back-translated twice into English. Patient difficulties in understanding the questionnaire were evaluated by a panel of experts and solved. Measurement properties such as reliability and validity were determined by applying the questionnaire to 94 end-stage renal disease patients on chronic dialysis. The Nottingham Health Profile Questionnaire, the Karnofsky Performance Scale and the Kidney Disease Questionnaire were administered to test validity. Some activities included in the original instrument were considered to be incompatible with the activities usually performed by the Brazilian population and were replaced. The mean scores for the 19 components of the KDQOL-SF questionnaire in Portuguese ranged from 22 to 91. The components "Social support" and "Dialysis staff encouragement" had the highest scores (86.7 and 90.8, respectively). The test-retest reliability and the inter-observer reliability of the instrument were evaluated by the intraclass correlation coefficient. The coefficients for both reliability tests were statistically significant for all scales of the KDQOL-SF (P < 0.001), ranging from 0.492 to 0.936 for test-retest reliability and from 0.337 to 0.994 for inter-observer reliability. The Cronbach's alpha coefficient was higher than 0.80 for most of components. The Portuguese version of the KDQOL-SF questionnaire proved to be valid and reliable for the evaluation of quality of life of Brazilian patients with end-stage renal disease on chronic dialysis.
Abstract in English:Laminin levels in ascitic fluid have been proposed as a marker for neoplastic ascites. We compared the concentration of laminin in serum and in ascitic fluid from patients with hepatic cirrhosis and peritoneal carcinomatosis and assessed the diagnostic value of serum laminin levels in differentiating neoplastic from benign ascites. Laminin concentrations were determined by ELISA with antibodies against laminin extracted from the human placenta, in patients with ascites due to peritoneal carcinomatosis (N = 20) and hepatic cirrhosis (N = 33). Patients with infected or hemorrhagic ascites were excluded. The receiver operating characteristic curve was used to determine the sensitivity and specificity of serum laminin for the diagnosis of neoplastic ascites. When compared to the group with cirrhosis, the carcinomatosis group presented significantly higher mean laminin levels in serum (3.3 ± 0.5 vs 2.1 ± 0.4 µg/ml, mean ± SD, P < 0.05) and ascites (2.8 ± 0.5 vs 1.6 ± 0.4 µg/ml, P < 0.05). Although laminin concentration was higher in serum than in ascites, the laminin serum/ascites ratio and serum-ascites gradient did not differ between the studied groups. A significant correlation (r = 0.93, P < 0.0001) was observed between the serum and ascites laminin values. Serum laminin levels >2.25 µg/ml showed 100% sensitivity and 73% specificity for the diagnosis of neoplastic ascites. Serum concentration seems to be the main determinant of laminin levels in ascitic fluid and its values can be used as a diagnostic parameter in the study of neoplastic ascites.
Abstract in English:We analyzed the performance of 162 normal subjects, subdivided into groups according to age and schooling, in the oral comprehension tasks of the Boston Diagnostic Aphasia Examination translated and adapted to Brazilian Portuguese to obtain a profile of performance for the Brazilian population, as well as cut-off scores for each task, and to determine the best combination of tasks that distinguish normal from aphasic subjects, as a guide for clinicians. The normal subjects were compared to 69 aphasics. Age alone influenced the performance in the designation of actions (subjects above 70 years showing the worst performance); schooling alone influenced the comprehension of forms, colors and numbers (subjects with less than four years of education showing a poorer performance). Both age and schooling influenced the performance in Body Part Identification (BPI) and Complex Ideational Material (CIM) with mean values of 70.5 ± 3.3 (Word Discrimination, WD), 18.9 ± 1.4 (BPI), 14.7 ± 0.9 (Commands), and 10.3 ± 1.7 (CIM) for the whole sample; the cut-off scores obtained were 65 (WD), 17.5 (BPI), 14 (Commands), and 9.5 (CIM) for the whole sample. Logistic regression showed that the combination of BPI + Commands + CIM was the most efficient in differentiating normal subjects from aphasics, with 72.5% sensitivity and 97.6% specificity. However, for low-education subjects, BPI and Commands were sufficient for this differentiation (75.7% sensitivity and 84.7% specificity). The main contribution of this study was to provide reference values that are far more representative of our population to be used by health professionals in Brazil, taking into account cultural differences.
Abstract in English:The objective of the present study was to translate, adapt and validate a Brazilian Portuguese version of the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) Questionnaire. The study was carried out in two steps. The first was to translate the DASH into Portuguese and to perform cultural adaptation and the second involved the determination of the reliability and validity of the DASH for the Brazilian population. For this purpose, 65 rheumatoid arthritis patients of either sex (according to the classification criteria of the American College of Rheumatology), ranging in age from 18 to 60 years and presenting no other diseases involving the upper limbs, were interviewed. The patients were selected consecutively at the rheumatology outpatient clinic of UNIFESP. The following results were obtained: in the first step (translation and cultural adaptation), all patients answered the questions. In the second step, Spearman's correlation coefficients for interobserver evaluation ranged from 0.762 to 0.995, values considered to be highly reliable. In addition, intraclass correlation coefficients ranged from 0.97 to 0.99, also highly reliable values. Spearman's correlation coefficients and the intraclass correlation coefficients obtained during intra-observer evaluation ranged from 0.731 to 0.937 and from 0.90 to 0.96, respectively, being highly reliable values. The Ritchie Index showed a weak correlation with Brazilian DASH scores, while the visual analog scale of pain showed a good correlation with DASH score. We conclude that the Portuguese version of the DASH is a reliable instrument.
Abstract in English:Size changes in muscle fibers of subjects with chronic heart disease (CHD) have been reported, although a consensus has not been achieved. The aims of the present study were to investigate a possible association between CHD and fiber size changes in the brachial biceps compared to subjects without heart disease. Forty-six muscle samples were obtained in autopsies of individuals (13 to 84 years) without neuromuscular disorders, 19 (10 males and 9 females) with, and 27 (14 males and 13 females) without CHD. In all cases muscle sections were stained with hematoxylin and eosin and processed for the visualization of myofibrillar ATPase activity. The lesser diameter of type 1 and type 2 fibers was obtained tracing their outlines (at least 150 fibers of each type per sample) onto an image analyzer connected to a computer. The results were analyzed statistically comparing males and females with and without CHD. Type 1 fiber mean lesser diameters were 51.51 and 54.52 µm in males (normal range 34-71 µm) and 45.65 and 55.42 µm in females (normal range 34-65 µm) without and with CHD, respectively; type 2 fibers measured 54.31, 58.23, 41.15, and 49.57 µm, respectively (normal range 36-79 µm for males and 32-59 µm for females). No significant difference in fiber size was detected in 24 males with and without CHD, while in 22 females there was a significant increase in size in those with cardiomyopathy. We concluded that CHD does not determine significant changes in fiber size. However, in females, there is some hypertrophy which, despite within normal range, may reflect morphologic heterogeneity of the sample, or the daily life activities in the upper limbs as a compensatory mechanism to fatigability that affect predominantly the lower limbs in subjects with CHD.
Abstract in English:We measured bone mineral density (BMD) in girls with juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM) considering multiple factors in order to determine if it could be used as a predictor of reduction in bone mass. A cross-sectional study of lumbar spine BMD (L2-L4) was conducted on 10 girls aged 7-16 years with JDM. A group of 20 age-matched healthy girls was used as control. Lumbar spine BMD was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Weight, height and pubertal Tanner stage were determined in all patients and controls. Duration of disease and mean daily and cumulative steroid doses were calculated for all patients on the basis of their medical charts. JDM activity was determined on the basis of the presence of muscle weakness, cutaneous vasculitis and/or elevation of serum concentration of one or more skeletal muscle enzymes. Seven patients demonstrated osteopenia or osteoporosis. Lumbar BMD was significantly lower in the JDM patients than the age-matched healthy control girls (0.712 vs 0.878, respectively; Student t-test, P = 0.041). No significant correlation between BMD and age, height, Tanner stage, disease duration, corticosteroid use, or disease activity was observed in JDM girls, but a correlation was observed between BMD and weight (Pearson's correlation coefficient, r = 0.802). Patients with JDM may be at risk for a significant reduction in BMD that might contribute to further skeletal fragility. Our results suggest that reduced bone mass in JDM may be related to other intrinsic mechanisms in addition to steroid treatment and some aspects of the disease itself may contribute to this condition.