Comparative evaluation of IGF-I gene transfer and IGF-I protein administration for enhancing skeletal muscle regeneration after injury
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Developing methodologies to enhance skeletal muscle regeneration and hasten the restoration of muscle function has important implications for minimizing disability after injury and for treating muscle diseases such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Although delivery of various growth factors, such as insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), have proved successful in promoting skeletal muscle regeneration after injury, no study has compared the efficacy of different delivery methods directly. We compared the efficacy of systemic delivery of recombinant IGF-I protein via mini-osmotic pump (approximately 1.5 mg/kg/day) with a single electrotransfer-assisted plasmid-based gene transfer, to hasten functional repair of mouse tibialis anterior muscles after myotoxic injury. The relative efficacy of each method was assessed at 7, 21 and 28 days post-injury. Our findings indicate that IGF-I hastened functional recovery, regardless of the route of IGF-I administration. However, gene transfer of IGF-I was superior to systemic protein administration because in the regenerating muscle, this delivery method increased IGF-I levels, activated intracellular signals (Akt phosphorylation), induced a greater magnitude of myofiber hypertrophy and hastened functional recovery at an earlier time point (14 days) after injury than did protein administration (21 days). Thus, the relative efficacy of different modes of delivery is an important consideration when assessing the therapeutic potential of various proteins for treating muscle injuries and skeletal muscle diseases.
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