Muscle injury induces a classical inflammatory response in which cells of the innate immune system rapidly invade the tissue. Macrophages are prominently involved in this response and required for proper healing, as they are known to be important for clearing cellular debris and supporting satellite cell differentiation. Here, we sought to assess the role of the adaptive immune system in muscle regeneration after acute damage. We show that T lymphocytes are transiently recruited into the muscle after damage and appear to exert a promyogenic effect on muscle repair. We observed a decrease in the cross-sectional area of regenerating myofibers after injury in Rag2-/- γ-chain-/- mice, as compared to WT controls, suggesting that T cell recruitment promotes muscle regeneration. Skeletal muscle infiltrating T lymphocytes were enriched in CD4+CD25+FOXP3+ cells. Direct exposure of muscle satellite cells to in vitro induced Treg cells effectively enhanced their expansion, and concurrently inhibited their myogenic differentiation. In vivo, the recruitment of Tregs to acutely injured muscle was limited to the time period of satellite expansion, with possibly important implications for situations in which inflammatory conditions persist, such as muscular dystrophies and inflammatory myopathies. We conclude that the adaptive immune system, in particular T regulatory cells, is critically involved in effective skeletal muscle regeneration. Thus, in addition to their well-established role as regulators of the immune/inflammatory response, T regulatory cells also regulate the activity of skeletal muscle precursor cells, and are instrumental for the proper regeneration of this tissue.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)