Development of approaches to improve the healing following muscle contusion

C Kasemkijwattana, J Menetrey, G Somogyl, M S Moreland, F H Fu, B Buranapanitkit, S C Watkins, J Huard
Cell Transplantation 1998, 7 (6): 585-98
Muscle injuries are a challenging problem in traumatology, and the most frequent occurrence in sports medicine. Muscle contusions are among the most common muscle injuries. Although this injury is capable of healing, an incomplete functional recovery often occurs, depending on the severity of the blunt trauma. We have developed an animal model of muscle contusion in mice (high energy blunt trauma) and characterized the muscle's ability to heal following this injury using histology and immunohistochemistry to determine the level of muscle regeneration and the development of scar tissue. We have observed a massive muscle regeneration occurring in the first 2 wk postinjury that is subsequently followed by the development of muscle fibrosis. Based on these observations, we propose that the enhancement of muscle growth and regeneration, as well as the prevention of fibrotic development, could be used as approach(es) to improve the healing of muscle injuries. In fact, we have identified three growth factors (bFGF, IGF-1, and NGF) capable of enhancing myoblast proliferation and differentiation in vitro and improving the healing of the injured muscle in vivo. Furthermore, the ability of adenovirus to mediate direct and ex vivo gene transfer of beta-galactosidase into the injured site opens possibilities of delivering an efficient and persistent expression of these growth factors in the injured muscle. These studies should help in the development of strategies to promote efficient muscle healing with complete functional recovery following muscle contusion.

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