Inhibition of COX1/2 alters the host response and reduces ECM scaffold mediated constructive tissue remodeling in a rodent model of skeletal muscle injury

Christopher L. Dearth*, Peter F. Slivka, Scott A. Stewart, Timothy J. Keane, Justin K. Tay, Ricardo Londono, Qingnian Goh, Francis X. Pizza, Stephen F. Badylak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Extracellular matrix (ECM) has been used as a biologic scaffold material to both reinforce the surgical repair of soft tissue and serve as an inductive template to promote a constructive tissue remodeling response. Success of such an approach is dependent on macrophage-mediated degradation and remodeling of the biologic scaffold. Macrophage phenotype during these processes is a predictive factor of the eventual remodeling outcome. ECM scaffolds have been shown to promote an anti-inflammatory or M2-like macrophage phenotype in vitro that includes secretion of downstream products of cycolooxygenases 1 and 2 (COX1/2). The present study investigated the effect of a common COX1/2 inhibitor (Aspirin) on macrophage phenotype and tissue remodeling in a rodent model of ECM scaffold treated skeletal muscle injury. Inhibition of COX1/2 reduced the constructive remodeling response by hindering myogenesis and collagen deposition in the defect area. The inhibited response was correlated with a reduction in M2-like macrophages in the defect area. The effects of Aspirin on macrophage phenotype were corroborated using an established in vitro macrophage model which showed a reduction in both ECM induced prostaglandin secretion and expression of a marker of M2-like macrophages (CD206). These results raise questions regarding the common peri-surgical administration of COX1/2 inhibitors when biologic scaffold materials are used to facilitate muscle repair/regeneration. Statement of significance COX1/2 inhibitors such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are routinely administered post-surgically for analgesic purposes. While COX1/2 inhibitors are important in pain management, they have also been shown to delay or diminish the healing process, which calls to question their clinical use for treating musculotendinous injuries. The present study aimed to investigate the influence of a common NSAID, Aspirin, on the constructive remodeling response mediated by an ECM scaffold (UBM) in a rat skeletal muscle injury model. The COX1/2 inhibitor, Aspirin, was found to mitigate the ECM scaffold-mediated constructive remodeling response both in an in vitro co-culture system and an in vivo rat model of skeletal muscle injury. The results presented herein provide data showing that NSAIDs may significantly alter tissue remodeling outcomes when a biomaterial is used in a regenerative medicine/tissue engineering application. Thus, the decision to prescribe NSAIDs to manage the symptoms of inflammation post-ECM scaffold implantation should be carefully considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-60
Number of pages11
JournalActa Biomaterialia
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Biologic scaffold
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Extremity Trauma
  • Host response
  • Macrophage polarization
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Skeletal muscle injury


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