Inflammation beneficial in healing damaged muscle tissue


Inflammation beneficial in healing damaged muscle tissue
by Neharika Sabharwal

A new study from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) challenges popular belief that the best way to deal with muscle injuries is to immediately focus on measures designed to reduce inflammation and minimizing pain, such as ice-packs, compression, and elevation.
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A new study from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) challenges popular belief that the best way to deal with muscle injuries is to immediately focus on measures designed to reduce inflammation and minimizing pain, such as ice-packs, compression, and elevation.

According to researchers, after a muscle injury some inflammation should be encouraged as it helps in healing the damaged tissues.

Experts theorize healing and inflammation goes hand in hand. According to them, inflammation is a defense mechanism that helps in removing the damaged tissue so that the body can begin to heal.

The process involves changes in blood flow, the transport of substances such as proteins, fluids, white blood cells to the injured area which increases the permeability of blood vessels.

Researchers discover insulin [a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin affects the amount of glucose absorbed by the liver.] -like growth factor-1(IGF-1)
The researchers found that in acute injuries, the inflammatory cells (macrophages) in the muscles produce a high level of an insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) which not only increases the rate of muscle regeneration but also improves the repair of muscle injury.

Dr Gerald Weissmann, Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB stated, “For wounds to heal we need controlled inflammation, not too much, and not too little.

“It’s been known for a long time that excess anti-inflammatory medication, such as cortisone, slows wound healing. This study goes a long way to telling us why: insulin-like growth factor and other materials released by inflammatory cells helps wound to heal.”

Experiment on mice
The researchers conducted an experiment on two groups of laboratory mice.

For the purpose of the study, one group of rodents was genetically altered so it could not produce any inflammatory response to acute muscle injury.

The second group of mice was normal. All the animals were subjected to muscle injury by barium [a metallic, chemical, chalky, liquid used to coat the inside of organs so that they will show up on an x-ray.] chloride.

Outcome of the study
It was noted that the injuries of rodents belonging to the modified group did not heal. However, it was observed that the muscle damage in the second group exhibited signs of healing.

On further analysis, the investigators found that the macrophages present in the injured muscles in the second group of mice produced high amounts of IGF-1 which helped in repairing the damaged tissues.

Lead researcher, Dr Lan Zhou, from the Neuroinflammation Research Center/Department of Neurosciences/Lerner Research Institute at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio stated, “We hope that our findings stimulate further research to dissect different roles played by tissue inflammation in clinical settings, so we can utilize the positive effects and control the negative effects of tissue inflammation.”

The study has been published in the ‘FASEB’ journal.




 

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