The healing of skeletal muscle injuries after major trauma or surgical reconstruction is often complicated by the development of fibrosis leading to impaired function. Research in the field of muscle regeneration is mainly focused on the restoration of muscle mass while far less attention is paid to the prevention of fibrosis. In this review, we take as an example the reconstruction of the muscles in the soft palate of cleft palate patients. After surgical closure of the soft palate, muscle function during speech is often impaired by a shortage of muscle tissue as well as the development of fibrosis. We will give a short overview of the most common approaches to generate muscle mass and then focus on strategies to prevent fibrosis. These include anti-fibrotic strategies that have been developed for muscle and other organs by the delivery of small molecules, decorin and miRNAs. Anti-fibrotic compounds should be delivered in aligned constructs in order to obtain the organized architecture of muscle tissue. The available techniques for the preparation of aligned muscle constructs will be discussed. The combination of approaches to generate muscle mass with anti-fibrotic components in an aligned muscle construct may greatly improve the functional outcome of regenerative therapies for muscle injuries.

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Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

von den Hoff, J., Carvajal Monroy, P.L. (Paola L.), Ongkosuwito, E., van Kuppevelt, T., & Daamen, W. (2018). Muscle fibrosis in the soft palate: Delivery of cells, growth factors and anti-fibrotics. Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews. doi:10.1016/j.addr.2018.08.002