Developmental biology and regenerative medicine: Addressing the vexing problem of persistent muscle atrophy in the chronically torn human rotator cuff

Meyer GA, Ward SR.
Phys Ther, 2016 96(5):722-33. Epub 2016 Feb 4.


Persistent muscle atrophy in the chronically torn rotator cuff is a significant obstacle for treatment and recovery. Large atrophic changes are predictive of poor surgical and nonsurgical outcomes and frequently fail to resolve even following functional restoration of loading and rehabilitation. New insights into the processes of muscle atrophy and recovery gained through studies in developmental biology combined with the novel tools and strategies emerging in regenerative medicine provide new avenues to combat the vexing problem of muscle atrophy in the rotator cuff. Moving these treatment strategies forward likely will involve the combination of surgery, biologic/cellular agents, and physical interventions, as increasing experimental evidence points to the beneficial interaction between biologic therapies and physiologic stresses. Thus, the physical therapy profession is poised to play a significant role in defining the success of these combinatorial therapies. This perspective article will provide an overview of the developmental biology and regenerative medicine strategies currently under investigation to combat muscle atrophy and how they may integrate into the current and future practice of physical therapy.

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