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Am J Pathol. 2005 Oct;167(4):1105-17.

NS-398, a cyclooxygenase-2-specific inhibitor, delays skeletal muscle healing by decreasing regeneration and promoting fibrosis.

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Departments of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are often prescribed after muscle injury. However, the effect of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs on muscle healing remains primarily controversial. To further examine the validity of using these drugs after muscle injury, we investigated the working mechanism of NS-398, a cyclooxygenase-2-specific inhibitor. In vitro experiments showed that NS-398 inhibited the proliferation and maturation of differentiated myogenic precursor cells, suggesting a detrimental effect on skeletal muscle healing. Using a mouse laceration model, we analyzed the in vivo effect of NS-398 on skeletal muscle healing at time points up to 4 weeks after injury. The in vivo results revealed delayed muscle regeneration at early time points after injury in the NS-398-treated mice. Compared to controls, lacerated muscles treated with NS-398 expressed higher levels of transforming growth factor-beta1, which corresponded with increased fibrosis. In addition, transforming growth factor-beta1 co-localized with myostatin, a negative regulator of skeletal muscle growth. We also found reduced neutrophil and macrophage infiltration in treated muscles, indicating that the delayed skeletal muscle healing observed after NS-398 treatment could be influenced by the anti-inflammatory effect of NS-398. Our findings suggest that the use of cyclooxygenase-2-specific inhibitors to treat skeletal muscle injuries warrants caution because they may interfere with muscle healing.

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