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Cryotherapy Reduces Inflammatory Response Without Altering Muscle Regeneration Process and Extracellular Matrix Remodeling of Rat Muscle.

ABSTRACT

The application of cryotherapy is widely used in sports medicine today. Cooling could minimize secondary hypoxic injury through the reduction of cellular metabolism and injury area. Conflicting results have also suggested cryotherapy could delay and impair the regeneration process. There are no definitive findings about the effects of cryotherapy on the process of muscle regeneration. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects of a clinical-like cryotherapy on inflammation, regeneration and extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling on the Tibialis anterior (TA) muscle of rats 3, 7 and 14 days post-injury. It was observed that the intermittent application of cryotherapy (three 30-minute sessions, every 2 h) in the first 48 h post-injury decreased inflammatory processes (mRNA levels of TNF-α, NF-κB, TGF-β and MMP-9 and macrophage percentage). Cryotherapy did not alter regeneration markers such as injury area, desmin and Myod expression. Despite regulating Collagen I and III and their growth factors, cryotherapy did not alter collagen deposition. In summary, clinical-like cryotherapy reduces the inflammatory process through the decrease of macrophage infiltration and the accumulation of the inflammatory key markers without influencing muscle injury area and ECM remodeling.