Although the studies discussed are beginning to reveal a number of genetic and possible environmental risk factors for myositis, further investigations are needed to fully understand and classify these syndromes. The difficulties in this process include small numbers of subjects with varying disease phenotypes available for study, polygenic risk factors for which it remains unclear which are primary and which are secondary or linked genes, and the lack of validated environmental exposure assessment tools. New technologies and international collaborative approaches, however, may overcome some of these difficulties and allow us to identify genetic and environmental risk factors, as well as the critical gene-environment interactions in the IIM and its subgroups. Nonetheless, our understanding of these diseases is still in the early stages. Although we have learned a great deal about these disorders through detailed investigations over the last several decades, we have even further to go to understand the environmental triggers and genetic susceptibilities for the myositis syndromes.
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