M1 macrophages play a major role in worsening muscle injury in the mdx mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. However, mdx muscle also contains M2c macrophages that can promote tissue repair, indicating that factors regulating the balance between M1 and M2c phenotypes could influence the severity of the disease. Because interleukin-10 (IL-10) modulates macrophage activation in vitro and its expression is elevated in mdx muscles, we tested whether IL-10 influenced the macrophage phenotype in mdx muscle and whether changes in IL-10 expression affected the pathology of muscular dystrophy. Ablation of IL-10 expression in mdx mice increased muscle damage in vivo and reduced mouse strength. Treating mdx muscle macrophages with IL-10 reduced activation of the M1 phenotype, assessed by iNOS expression, and macrophages from IL-10 null mutant mice were more cytolytic than macrophages isolated from wild-type mice. Our data also showed that muscle cells in mdx muscle expressed the IL-10 receptor, suggesting that IL-10 could have direct effects on muscle cells. We assayed whether ablation of IL-10 in mdx mice affected satellite cell numbers, using Pax7 expression as an index, but found no effect. However, IL-10 mutation significantly increased myogenin expression in vivo during the acute and the regenerative phase of mdx pathology. Together, the results show that IL-10 plays a significant regulatory role in muscular dystrophy that may be caused by reducing M1 macrophage activation and cytotoxicity, increasing M2c macrophage activation and modulating muscle differentiation.
Journal Article. 9530 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: Genetics and Genomics
Full text: subscription required