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Regen Eng Transl Med. 2017 Jun;3(2):82-93. doi: 10.1007/s40883-017-0030-2. Epub 2017 May 8.

Quantitative analysis of immune cell subset infiltration of supraspinatus muscle after severe rotator cuff injury.

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Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, Atlanta, GA.
Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA.


Rotator cuff tears cause muscle degeneration that is characterized by myofiber atrophy, fatty infiltration, and fibrosis and is minimally responsive to current treatment options. The underlying pathogenesis of rotator cuff muscle degeneration remains to be elucidated, and increasing evidence implicates immune cell infiltration as a significant factor. Because immune cells are comprised of highly heterogeneous subpopulations that exert divergent effects on injured tissue, understanding trafficking and accumulation of immune subpopulations may hold the key to more effective therapies. The present study quantifies subpopulations of immune cells infiltrating the murine supraspinatus muscle after severe rotator cuff injury that includes tenotomy and denervation. Rotator cuff injury stimulates dramatic infiltration of mononuclear phagocytes, enriches mononuclear phagocytes in non-classical subpopulations, and enriches T lymphocytes in TH and Treg subpopulations. The combination of tenotomy plus denervation significantly increases mononuclear phagocyte infiltration, enriches macrophages in the non-classical subpopulation, and decreases T lymphocyte enrichment in TH cells compared to tenotomy alone. Depletion of circulating monocytes via liposomal clodronate accelerates supraspinatus atrophy after tenotomy and denervation. The study may aid rational design of immunologically smart therapies that harness immune cells to enhance outcomes after rotator cuff tears.

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