Skeletal muscle injury is the most common problem in orthopedic and sports medicine, and severe injury leads to fibrosis and muscle dysfunction. Conventional treatment for successive muscle injury is currently controversial, although new therapies, like cell therapy, seem to be promise. We developed a model of successive injuries in rat to evaluate the therapeutic potential of bone marrow mesenchymal cells (BMMC) injected directly into the injured muscle. Functional and histological assays were performed 14 and 28 days after the injury protocol by isometric tension recording and picrosirius/Hematoxilin & Eosin staining, respectively. We also evaluated the presence and the fate of BMMC on treated muscles; and muscle fiber regeneration. BMMC treatment increased maximal skeletal muscle contraction 14 and 28 days after muscle injury compared to non-treated group (4.5 ± 1.7 vs 2.5 ± 0.98 N/cm2, p<0.05 and 8.4 ± 2.3 vs. 5.7 ± 1.3 N/cm2, p<0.05 respectively). Furthermore, BMMC treatment increased muscle fiber cross-sectional area and the presence of mature muscle fiber 28 days after muscle injury. However, there was no difference in collagen deposition between groups. Immunoassays for cytoskeleton markers of skeletal and smooth muscle cells revealed an apparent integration of the BMMC within the muscle. These data suggest that BMMC transplantation accelerates and improves muscle function recovery in our extensive muscle re-injury model.
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