Exhaustive exercise promotes muscle injury, including myofiber lesions; however, its exact mechanism has not yet been elucidated. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that macrophage depletion by pretreatment with clodronate liposomes alters muscle injury and inflammation following exhaustive exercise. Male C57BL/6J mice were divided into four groups: rest plus control liposome (n=8), rest plus clodronate liposome (n=8), exhaustive exercise plus control liposome (n=8), and exhaustive exercise plus clodronate liposome (n=8). Mice were treated with clodronate liposome or control liposome for 48. h before undergoing exhaustive exercise on a treadmill. Twenty-four hours after exhaustive exercise, the gastrocnemius muscles were removed for histological and PCR analyses. Exhaustive exercise increased the number of macrophages in the muscle; however, clodronate liposome treatment reduced this infiltration. Although exhaustive exercise resulted in an increase in injured myofibers, clodronate liposome treatment following exhaustive exercise reduced the injured myofibers. Clodronate liposome treatment also decreased the mRNA expression levels of inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6) in the skeletal muscle after exhaustive exercise. These results suggest that macrophages play a critical role in increasing muscle injury by regulating inflammation.
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