Clues to disease activity in juvenile dermatomyositis: Neopterin and other biomarkers

Amer Khojah*, Gabrielle Morgan, Lauren M. Pachman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Easily accessible biomarkers are urgently needed to evaluate immune activation in Juvenile Dermatomyositis (JDM). The goal of this retrospective study is to define immunological and clinical differences between untreated JDM patients with either normal or elevated (>10 mmol/L) levels of neopterin, a biomarker of macrophage activation. We included all JDM with neopterin data obtained before initiating medical therapy. We assessed T, B, NK cell populations, muscle enzymes, and disease activity scores for skin (sDAS), muscle (mDAS), total (tDAS), the duration of untreated disease, disease course, and myositis-specific antibody (MSA). Seventy-nine percent of 139 untreated JDM patients had elevated serum neopterin. The group with elevated neopterin had significantly more active disease: tDAS 11.9 vs. 8.1 (p < 0.0001), mDAS 5.8 vs. 3.1 (p < 0.0001), sDAS 6.1 vs. 4.9 (p = 0.0002), aldolase 24.0 vs. 7.6 U/L (p < 0.0001), von Willebrand factor antigen (p < 0.0001), and ESR 19.8 vs. 11.5 mm/hr (p = 0.01). The flow cytometry documented both reduced T cells (1494 vs. 2278/mm3, p = 0.008) and NK cells (145 vs. 240/mm3, p = 0.003). TNFα-308AA/AG polymorphism was more common in children with elevated neopterin than TNFα-308GG (p 0.05). We conclude that the availability of neopterin data will contribute to the rapid assessment of untreated JDM disease activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • CXCL10
  • CXCL11
  • Disease activity scores
  • Juvenile Dermatomyositis
  • NK cell
  • Neopterin
  • TNFα-308A polymorphism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry


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