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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 438675, 12 pages
Review Article

From Innate to Adaptive Immune Response in Muscular Dystrophies and Skeletal Muscle Regeneration: The Role of Lymphocytes

1IRCCS Fondazione Santa Lucia, Via del Fosso di Fiorano 64, 00143 Rome, Italy
2DAHFMO, Unit of Histology and Medical Embryology, Sapienza University of Rome, Via Antonio Scarpa 14, 00161 Rome, Italy

Received 15 February 2014; Accepted 2 May 2014; Published 16 June 2014

Academic Editor: Pura Muñoz-Cánoves

Copyright © 2014 Luca Madaro and Marina Bouché. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Skeletal muscle is able to restore contractile functionality after injury thanks to its ability to regenerate. Following muscle necrosis, debris is removed by macrophages, and muscle satellite cells (MuSCs), the muscle stem cells, are activated and subsequently proliferate, migrate, and form muscle fibers restoring muscle functionality. In most muscle dystrophies (MDs), MuSCs fail to properly proliferate, differentiate, or replenish the stem cell compartment, leading to fibrotic deposition. However, besides MuSCs, interstitial nonmyogenic cells and inflammatory cells also play a key role in orchestrating muscle repair. A complete understanding of the complexity of these mechanisms should allow the design of interventions to attenuate MDs pathology without disrupting regenerative processes. In this review we will focus on the contribution of immune cells in the onset and progression of MDs, with particular emphasis on Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). We will briefly summarize the current knowledge and recent advances made in our understanding of the involvement of different innate immune cells in MDs and will move on to critically evaluate the possible role of cell populations within the acquired immune response. Revisiting previous observations in the light of recent evidence will likely change our current view of the onset and progression of the disease.