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Harnessing regulatory T cells to heal muscle injury and disease

A unique population of CD4+ FOXP3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) was identified by Harvard investigators and shown to rapidly accumulate within injured muscle and potentiate its repair. In contrast, tissue devoid of these Tregs is characterized by excessive inflammation and reduced muscle progenitor cells-mediated myogenic activity. Using Treg-derived proteins such as amphiregulin, leads to a similar effect by increasing the expression of multiple genes involved in muscle homeostasis and regeneration. These experimental data, published in Cell (Cell. 2013 December 5; 155(6): 1282-1295), indicate that both Tregs and their products could be used to repair injured muscles. Further research has identified several chemical stimulators of Treg development and function that could be delivered topically or intramuscularly to improve muscle repair after acute or chronic injury, in regenerative, as well as sports medicine.

Intellectual Property Status: Patent(s) Pending