Pericyte transplantation improves skeletal muscle recovery following hindlimb immobilization

Michael Munroe, Svyatoslav Dvoretskiy, Amber Lopez, Jiayu Leong, Michael C. Dyle, Hyunjoon Kong, Christopher M. Adams, Marni D. Boppart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Conditions of extended bed rest and limb immobilization can initiate rapid and significant loss of skeletal muscle mass and function. Physical rehabilitation is standard practice following a period of disuse, yet mobility may be severely compromised, and recovery is commonly delayed or incomplete in special populations. Thus, a novel approach toward recovery of muscle mass is highly desired. Pericytes [neuron-glial antigen 2 (NG2)+CD31CD45(Lineage [Lin]) and CD146+Lin] demonstrate capacity to facilitate muscle repair, yet the ability to enhance myofiber growth following disuse is unknown. In the current study, 3–4-mo-old mice were unilaterally immobilized for 14 d (IM) or immobilized for 14 d followed by 14 d of remobilization (RE). Flow cytometry and targeted gene expression analyses were completed to assess pericyte quantity and function following IM and RE. In addition, a transplantation study was conducted to assess the impact of pericytes on recovery. Results from targeted analyses suggest minimal impact of disuse on pericyte gene expression, yet NG2+Lin pericyte quantity is reduced following IM (P < 0.05). Remarkably, pericyte transplantation recovered losses in myofiber cross-sectional area and the capillary-to-fiber ratio following RE, whereas deficits remained with vehicle alone (P = 0.01). These findings provide the first evidence that pericytes effectively rehabilitate skeletal muscle mass following disuse atrophy.—Munroe, M., Dvoretskiy, S., Lopez, A., Leong, J., Dyle, M. C., Kong, H., Adams, C. M., Boppart, M. D. Pericyte transplantation improves skeletal muscle recovery following hindlimb immobilization. FASEB J. 33, 7694–7706 (2019).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7694-7706
Number of pages13
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019


  • capillary
  • disuse atrophy
  • growth
  • muscle
  • rehabilitation
  • stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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