P Desgranges, C Barbaud, J P Caruelle, D Barritault, J Gautron


schemia and denervation of EDL muscle of adult rat induce a large central zone of degeneration surrounded by a thin zone of peripheral surviving muscle fibers. Muscle regeneration is a complex phenomenon in which many agents interact, such as growth factors and heparan sulfate components of the extracellular matrix. We have shown that synthetic polymers, called RGTA (as regenerating agents), which imitate the heparan sulfates, are able to stimulate tissue repair when applied at the site of injury. In crushed muscles, RGTA were found to accelerate both regeneration and reinnervation. In vitro, RGTA act as protectors and potentiators of various heparin binding growth factors (HBGF). It was postulated that in vivo their tissue repair properties were due in part to an increase of bioavailability of endogenously released HBGF. In the present work, we show that ischemic and denervated EDL muscle treated by a unique injection of RGTA differs from the control after 1 wk in several aspects: 1) the epimysial postinflammatory reaction is inhibited and the area of fibrotic tissue among fibers is reduced; 2) the peripheral zone, as measured by the number of intact muscle fibers, was increased by more than twofold; and 3) In the central zone, RGTA enhances the regeneration of the muscle fibers as well as muscle revascularization. These results suggest that RGTA both protects muscle fibers from degeneration and preserves the differentiated state of the surviving fibers. For the first time it is demonstrated that a functionalized polymeric compound can prevent some of the damage resulting from muscle ischemia. RGTA may therefore open a new therapeutic approach for muscle fibrosis and other postischemic muscle pathologies.

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