Effect of implantation on engineered skeletal muscle constructs

Michael L. Williams, Tatiana Y. Kostrominova, Ellen M. Arruda, Lisa M. Larkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Scopus citations


The development of engineered skeletal muscle would provide a viable tissue for replacement and repair of muscle damaged by disease or injury. Our current tissue-engineering methods result in three-dimensional (3D) muscle constructs that generate tension but do not advance phenotypically beyond neonatal characteristics. To develop to an adult phenotype, innervation and vascularization of the construct must occur. In this study, 3D muscle constructs were implanted into the hindlimb of a rat, along the sciatic nerve, with the sural nerve isolated, transected and sutured to the construct to encourage innervation. Aortic ring anchors were sutured to the tendons of the biceps femoris muscle so that the construct would move dynamically with the endogenous muscle. After 1week in vivo, the constructs were explanted, evaluated for force production and stained for muscle, nerve and collagen markers. Implanted muscle constructs showed a developing capillary system, an epimysium-like outer layer of connective tissue and an increase in myofibre content. The beginning of α-bungarotoxin clustering suggests that neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) could form on the implanted muscle, given more time in vivo. Additionally, the constructs increased maximum isometric force from 192±41 μN to 549±103 μN (245% increase) compared to in vitro controls, which increased from 276±23 μN to 329±27μN (25% increase). These findings suggest that engineered muscle tissue survives 1week of implantation and begins to develop the necessary interfaces needed to advance the phenotype toward adult muscle. However, in terms of force production, the muscle constructs need longer implantation times to fully develop an adult phenotype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)434-442
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013


  • Implantation
  • Innervation
  • Skeletal muscle
  • Tissue engineering
  • Vascularization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomaterials

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