Macrophages recruited at the site of sterile muscle damage play an essential role in the regeneration of the tissue. In this article, we report that the selective disruption of macrophage ferroportin (Fpn) results in iron accumulation within muscle-infiltrating macrophages and jeopardizes muscle healing, prompting fat accumulation. Macrophages isolated from the tissue at early time points after injury express ferritin H, CD163, and hemeoxygenase-1, indicating that they can uptake heme and store iron. At later time points they upregulate Fpn expression, thus acquiring the ability to release the metal. Transferrin-mediated iron uptake by regenerating myofibers occurs independently of systemic iron homeostasis. The inhibition of macrophage iron export via the silencing of Fpn results in regenerating muscles with smaller myofibers and fat accumulation. These results highlight the existence of a local pathway of iron recycling that plays a nonredundant role in the myogenic differentiation of muscle precursors, limiting the adipose degeneration of the tissue.
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