Surprise: Scientists discover that inflammation helps to heal wounds

October 4, 2010, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

A new research study published in The FASEB Journal may change how sports injuries involving muscle tissue are treated, as well as how much patient monitoring is necessary when potent anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed for a long time. That's because the study shows for the first time that inflammation actually helps to heal damaged muscle tissue, turning conventional wisdom on its head that inflammation must be largely controlled to encourage healing.

These findings could lead to new therapies for acute muscle injuries caused by trauma, chemicals, infections, freeze damage, and exposure to medications which cause as a side effect. In addition, these findings suggest that existing and future therapies used to combat inflammation should be closely examined to ensure that the benefits of inflammation are not eliminated.

"We hope that our findings stimulate further research to dissect different roles played by in clinical settings, so we can utilize the positive effects and control the negative effects of tissue inflammation," said Lan Zhou, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Neuroinflammation Research Center/Department of Neurosciences/Lerner Research Institute at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

Zhou and colleagues found that the presence of inflammatory cells (macrophages) in acute produce a high level of a growth factor called insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) which significantly increases the rate of muscle regeneration. The research report shows that muscle inflammatory cells produce the highest levels of IGF-1, which improves muscle injury repair. To reach this conclusion, the researchers studied two groups of mice. The first group of mice was genetically altered so they could not mount inflammatory responses to acute injury.

The second group of mice was normal. Each group experienced muscle injury induced by barium chloride. The muscle injury in the first group of mice did not heal, but in the second group, their bodies repaired the injury. Further analysis showed that macrophages within injured muscles in the second group of mice produced a high level of IGF-1, leading to significantly improved muscle repair.

"For wounds to heal we need controlled inflammation, not too much, and not too little," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The , "It's been known for a long time that excess anti-inflammatory medication, such as cortisone, slows wound healing. This study goes a long way to telling us why: insulin-like growth factor and other materials released by helps wound to heal."

More information: Haiyan Lu, Danping Huang, Noah Saederup, Israel F. Charo, Richard M. Ransohoff, and Lan Zhou. Macrophages recruited via CCR2 produce insulin-like growth factor-1 to repair acute skeletal muscle injury FASEB J. doi:10.1096/fj.10-171579

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Defect in debilitating neurodegenerative disease reversed in mouse nerves

April 19, 2018
Scientists have developed a new drug compound that shows promise as a future treatment for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, an inherited, often painful neurodegenerative condition that affects nerves in the hands, arms, feet ...

Molecule that dilates blood vessels hints at new way to treat heart disease

April 19, 2018
Americans die of heart or cardiovascular disease at an alarming rate. In fact, heart attacks, strokes and related diseases will kill an estimated 610,000 Americans this year alone. Some medications help, but to better tackle ...

Team develops new approach to study long non-coding RNAs

April 19, 2018
Until recently, scientific research concentrated almost exclusively on the 2 percent of the genome's protein coding regions, virtually ignoring the other 98 percent - a vast universe of non-coding genetic material previously ...

Gene-edited stem cells show promise against HIV in non-human primates

April 19, 2018
Gene editing of bone marrow stem cells in pigtail macaques infected with simian/human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) significantly reduces the size of dormant "viral reservoirs" that pose a risk of reactivation. Christopher ...

Enduring cold temperatures alters fat cell epigenetics

April 19, 2018
A new study in fat cells has revealed a molecular mechanism that controls how lifestyle choices and the external environment affect gene expression. This mechanism includes potential targets for next-generation drug discovery ...

Leptin's neural circuit identified—Genome-editing study reveals how hormone helps prevent both obesity and diabetes

April 18, 2018
Revealing surprising answers to a long-standing enigma about the brain target of the anti-obesity hormone leptin, neuroscientists at Tufts University School of Medicine have used CRISPR genome editing to identify a neural ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

5 / 5 (7) Oct 04, 2010
considering inflammation is the primary response to most injury, this should not be the least bit surprising.
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 04, 2010
@megadeth312- exactly what I was thinking.
1 / 5 (2) Oct 04, 2010
I already knew this, I am a Marshall Protocol patient and this is the basis of our therapy!
Not new at all and may actually infringe on Marshalls copywrite.
See Here -
5 / 5 (2) Oct 04, 2010
are you saying they have a copyright on inflammation?
3 / 5 (2) Oct 04, 2010
It is possible that fevers are similarly a helpful reaction to fight infection?
not rated yet Oct 05, 2010
Not on the disease, but if I know Professor Marshall (and I do),then most certainly on the therapy!
Thats why people issue these articles, to establish intellectual copywrite before they patent.
Though I doubt that Marshall would complain if other people reproduce his work, after all, he created the therapy to help himself and others rather as a source of income, and is happy to discuss the therapy with anyone bright enough to ask.
For an overview of inflammation therapy go here - http://www.youtub...Marshall

And yes, fevers are the body's natural response to infection.
Many bacteria that attack humans are successful because they breed best at normal body temp but die as the temp passes 39c, hence fevers.
The trick is to manage the inflammation at a safe level, thats what the protocol is about.
not rated yet Oct 05, 2010
Thats why bodybuilders often inject roids locally in spots they want extra growth, besides acting as a slow release deposit for androgens in the bloodstream, the intramuscular depot, causes mild inflammation onsite, it can feel pretty uncomforatable, but that is taken for granted, even synthol partly works by the inflammatory response, problem is many synthol users take it too far, putting so much in it that it a) looks outright stupid B) they get huge inflammation, dangerous medical conditions
not rated yet Oct 05, 2010
It is possible that fevers are similarly a helpful reaction to fight infection?

I assume you are making a light hearted joke as its been known for a very long time that infection doesant like a raised temperature and for most forms of infection a high body temperature kills infection.

In medievil times it was well known that a fever was the bodies way of fighting off ill humours and when you broke that fever that meant you would recover and live.
not rated yet Oct 05, 2010
you know what, maybe local infections could be fought in that case by injecting DNP in the infection spot, a dangerous thermogenisis bodybuilders used in the 80's to get cut and dry as nails on stage, induce a local fever. Story goes they had to sleep with ventilators on at night due to their continous increased bodytemperature and for some who overdosed, died, burned their intestines from the inside out or had to be rushed to the hospital, put in a bath with icewater and receive a klysma with icewater as well, only time you will see me use DNP is if i get stuck on the northpole or something
1 / 5 (1) Oct 05, 2010
Interesting that the concept of the body healing itself is news to conventional medicine. What next? Maybe the concept that the flu and other recurring malaises can be good for you --- ditch the flu shot. Cooley showed in 1910 or so that when the body fights off serious illness, it attacks cancer cells as a byproduct of the immune response.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.