Development of a Biomimetic In Vitro Skeletal Muscle Tissue Model


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Many congenital skeletal muscle disorders including muscular dystrophies are caused by genetic mutations that lead to a dysfunction in myocytes effectively binding to the extracellular matrix. This leads to a chronic and continuous cycle of breakdown and regeneration of muscle tissue, ultimately resulting in loss of muscle function and patient mortality. Such disorders lack effective clinical treatments and challenge researchers to develop new therapeutics. The current drug development process often yields ineffective therapeutics due to the lack of genetic homology between pre-clinical animal models and humans. In addition current engineered tissue models using human cells fail to properly emulate native muscle morphology and function due to necrotic tissue cores and an abundance undigested ECM protein. Thus, a more precise benchtop model of 3D engineered human muscle tissue could serve as a better platform for translation to a disease model and could better predict candidate drug efficacy during pre- clinical development. This work presents the methodology for generating a high-content system of contiguous skeletal muscle tissue constructs produced entirely from human cells by using a non-adhesive hydrogel micro-molding technique. Subsequent culture and mold modifications confirmed by morphological and contractile protein analysis improve tissue longevity and myocyte maturation. Finally, mechanical strength and contractile force measurements confirmed that such modulations resulted in skeletal muscle microtissues that were more mimetic of human muscle tissue. This cell self-assembly technique yielded tissues approximately 150um in diameter with cell densities approaching that of native muscle. Modifications including seeding pre-differentiated myoblasts and the addition of ECM producing fibroblasts improved both tissue formation efficiency and cell alignment. Further culture modifications including supplementation of the culture medium with 50ug/ml ascorbic acid and 100ng/ml Insulin-like growth factor-1 coupled with a mold redesign that allowed tissue to passively contract during maturation while still remaining anchored under tension further improved ECM production, myogenic differentiation, and long-term longevity in culture. Further confirmation of the culture improvements were demonstrated by increases in mechanical strength and contractile force production. In conclusion, this approach overcomes cell density limitations with exogenous ECM-based methods and provides a platform for producing 3D models of human skeletal muscle by making tissue entirely using cells. Future work will attempt to translate the methodology used for tissue generation and long-term culture to create benchtop models of disease models of skeletal muscle, streamlining pre- clinical benchtop testing to better predict candidate drug efficacy for skeletal muscle diseases and disorders along with elucidating side effects of non-target drugs.

  • English
  • etd-041217-191759
Defense date
  • 2017
Date created
  • 2017-04-12
Resource type
Rights statement
Last modified
  • 2020-12-31


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