Researchers have identified a protein produced by white blood cells that puts the brakes on muscle repair after injury.
By removing the protein CD163 from mice, scientists at Emory University School of Medicine could boost muscle repair and recovery of blood flow after ischemic injury (damage caused by restriction of blood flow).
The findings point to a target for potential treatments aimed at enhancing muscle regeneration. Muscle breakdown
occurs in response to injury or inactivity -- during immobilization in a cast, for example -- and in several diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
The results were published online by Nature Communications
on Wednesday, August 5.
CD163 was known to scientists, mostly as a molecule involved in scavenging excess hemoglobin from the body, but its role in regulating muscle repair was not, says senior author Aloke Finn, MD, assistant professor of medicine (division of cardiology) at Emory University School of Medicine.