Background: Severe acute muscle injury results in massive cell damage, causing the release of actin into extracellular fluids where it complexes with the vitamin D-binding protein (DBP). We hypothesized that a systemic DBP deficiency would result in a less proinflammatory phenotype.Methods: C57BL/6 wild-type (WT) and DBP-deficient (DBP-/-) mice received intramuscular injections of either 50% glycerol or phosphate-buffered saline into thigh muscles. Muscle injury was assessed by histology. Cytokine levels were measured in plasma, muscle, kidney, and lung.Results: All animals survived the procedure, but glycerol injection in both strains of mice showed lysis of skeletal myocytes and inflammatory cell infiltrate. The muscle inflammatory cell infiltrate in DBP-deficient mice had remarkably few neutrophils as compared with WT mice. The neutrophil chemoattractant CXCL1 was significantly reduced in muscle tissue from DBP-/- mice. However, there were no other significant differences in muscle cytokine levels. In contrast, plasma obtained 48 hours after glycerol injection revealed that DBP-deficient mice had significantly lower levels of systemic cytokines interleukin 6, CCL2, CXCL1, and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor. Lung tissue from DBP-/- mice showed significantly decreased amounts of CCL2 and CXCL1 as compared with glycerol-treated WT mice. Several chemokines in kidney homogenates following glycerol-induced injury were significantly reduced in DBP-/- mice: CCL2, CCL5, CXCL1, and CXCL2.Conclusions: Acute muscle injury triggered a systemic proinflammatory response as noted by elevated plasma cytokine levels. However, mice with a systemic DBP deficiency demonstrated a change in their cytokine profile 48 hours after muscle injury to a less proinflammatory phenotype.