Introduction: Idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIMs, or myositis) represent a group of autoimmune diseases that result in decreased muscle strength and/or endurance. Non-invasive tools to assess muscle may improve our understanding of the clinical and functional consequences of myopathies and their response to treatment. In this study we examine magnetic resonance elastography (MRE), a non-invasive technique that assesses the shear modulus (stiffness) of muscle, in IIM subjects. Methods: Nine subjects with active myositis completed the MRE protocol. Participants lay in a positioning device, and scans of the vastus medialis (VM) were taken in the relaxed state and at two contraction levels. Manual inversion was used to estimate the stiffness. Results: A significant reduction in muscle stiffness was seen in myositis subjects compared with healthy controls during the 'relaxed' condition. Discussion: The use of non-invasive technologies such as MRE may provide greater understanding of the pathophysiology of IIM and improve assessment of treatment efficacy.
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