Objective: The surgical transfer of skin, fat, and/or muscle from a donor site to a recipient site within the same patient is a widely performed procedure in reconstructive surgeries. A surgical pretreatment strategy that is intended to increase perfusion in the flap, termed "flap delay," is a commonly employed technique by plastic surgeons prior to flap transplantation. Here, we explored whether CD68+ /CD206+ macrophages are required for arteriogenesis within the flap by performing gain-of-function and loss-of-function studies in a previously published flap delay murine model.
Methods and results: Local injection of M2-polarized macrophages into the flap resulted in an increase in collateral vessel diameter. Application of a thin biomaterial film loaded with a pharmacological agent (FTY720), which has been previously shown to recruit CD68+ /CD206+ macrophages to remodeling tissue, increased CD68+ /CD206+ cell recruitment and collateral vessel enlargement. Conversely, when local macrophage populations were depleted within the inguinal fat pad via clodronate liposome delivery, we observed fewer CD68+ cells accompanied by diminished collateral vessel enlargement.
Conclusions: Our study underscores the importance of macrophages during microvascular adaptations that are induced by flap delay. These studies suggest a mechanism for a translatable therapeutic target that may be used to enhance the clinical flap delay procedure.
Keywords: adipose; arteriogenesis; collateral vessel; macrophage.
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.