Neural cells speed up function in bioprinted skeletal muscle constructs

Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) scientists have improved upon the 3D bioprinting technique they developed to engineer skeletal muscle as a potential therapy for replacing diseased or damaged muscle tissue, moving another step closer to someday being able to treat patients.

Photo
WFIRM 3D bioprinter prints muscle.
Source: Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine/WFIRM

Skeletal muscles are attached to bones by tendons and are responsible for the body's movement. When they are damaged, there is often loss of muscle function because the nerves are no longer sending signals to the brain.

Treatment of extensive muscle defect injuries like those caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) on the battlefield, for instance, is difficult and often requires reconstructive surgery with muscle grafts. Effective nerve integration of bioengineered skeletal muscle tissues has been a challenge. "Being able to bioengineer implantable skeletal muscle constructs that mimics the native muscle to restore function represents a significant advance in treating these types of injuries," said lead author Ji Hyun Kim, Ph.D., of WFIRM. "Our hope is to develop a therapeutic option that will help heal injured patients and give them back as much function and normalcy as possible."

Institute scientists previously demonstrated that the Integrated Tissue and Organ Printing System (ITOP), developed in house over a 14-year period, can generate organized printed muscle tissue that is robust enough to maintain its structural characteristics.

Since then, the WFIRM researchers have been developing and testing different types of skeletal muscle tissue constructs to find the right combination of cells and materials to achieve functional muscle tissue. In the current study, they investigated the effects of neural cell integration into the bioprinted muscle construct to accelerate functional muscle regeneration. "These constructs were able to facilitate rapid nerve distribution and matured into organized muscle tissue that restored normal muscle weight and function in a pre-clinical model of muscle defect injury," said Sang Jin Lee, Ph.D., co-senior author, also of WFIRM.

This ongoing line of research at WFIRM is supported and federally funded through the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine. The goal is to develop clinical therapies to treat wounded warriors that will also benefit the civilian population. "Continued improvements in 3D bioprinting techniques and materials are helping us advance in our quest to make replacement tissue for patients," said co-senior author Anthony Atala, M.D., who is director of WFIRM.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Related articles

Imaging technique to study 3D printed brain tumors

Imaging technique to study 3D printed brain tumors

Researchers demonstrated a methodology that combines the bioprinting and imaging of glioblastoma cells in a way that more closely models what happens inside the human body.

3D printed biomaterial enables forming of blood vessels

3D printed biomaterial enables forming of blood vessels

An international team of scientists have discovered a new material that can be 3D printed to create tissue-like vascular structures. In a new study, researchers have developed a way to 3D print graphene oxide with a protein which can organise into tubular structures that replicate some properties of vascular tissue.

Handheld 3D printers help to treat musculoskeletal injuries

Handheld 3D printers help to treat musculoskeletal injuries

Biomedical engineers developed a handheld 3D bioprinter that could revolutionize the way musculoskeletal surgical procedures are performed.

Transparent human organs allow 3D maps at the cellular level

Transparent human organs allow 3D maps at the cellular level

For the first time, researchers managed to make intact human organs transparent. Using microscopic imaging they could revealed underlying complex structures of the see-through organs at the cellular level.

3D printed implants seed multiple layers of tissue

3D printed implants seed multiple layers of tissue

Researchers are 3D printing "groovy" tissue-engineering scaffolds with living cells to help heal injuries.

Bioengineering living heart valves

Bioengineering living heart valves

Reserchers have made progress developing living heart valves that can grow with the body and integrate with the patient's native tissue.

Novel bioprinter shows potential to speed tissue engineering

Novel bioprinter shows potential to speed tissue engineering

Researchers have found a way to speed up tissue engineering for potential organ regeneration or replacement using a novel bioprinter.

Swimming 3D printed donuts deliver therapies inside body

Swimming 3D printed donuts deliver therapies inside body

Researchers have developed a way to 3D print custom microswimmers that can transport drugs and nanotherapeutic agents, as well as potentially manipulate tissue directly inside the body.

Bioprinting living skin including blood vessels

Bioprinting living skin including blood vessels

Researchers have developed a way to 3D print living skin, complete with blood vessels - a step toward creating grafts that are more like skin.

Popular articles