Macrophage depletion impairs neonatal tendon regeneration

Kristen L. Howell, Deepak A. Kaji, Thomas M. Li, Angela Montero, Kenji Yeoh, Philip Nasser, Alice H. Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Tendons are dense connective tissues that transmit muscle forces to the skeleton. After adult injury, healing potential is generally poor and dominated by scar formation. Although the immune response is a key feature of healing, the specific immune cells and signals that drive tendon healing have not been fully defined. In particular, the immune regulators underlying tendon regeneration are almost completely unknown due to a paucity of tendon regeneration models. Using a mouse model of neonatal tendon regeneration, we screened for immune-related markers and identified upregulation of several genes associated with inflammation, macrophage chemotaxis, and TGFβ signaling after injury. Depletion of macrophages using AP20187 treatment of MaFIA mice resulted in impaired functional healing, reduced cell proliferation, reduced ScxGFP+ neo-tendon formation, and altered tendon gene expression. Collectively, these results show that inflammation is a key component of neonatal tendon regeneration and demonstrate a requirement for macrophages in effective functional healing.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere21618
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • macrophages
  • mouse
  • regeneration
  • tendon healing


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