Scientists have used bio-engineered cells to regenerate muscle fibre. 

Korean researchers say that the regeneration of muscle tissue was achieved by combining direct cell reprogramming with natural-synthetic hybrid scaffold as a structural support.

The current method to replace lost muscle resulting from injury or disability uses surgical interventions with autologous muscle flaps or grafts accompanied by physical therapy. 

However, surgical procedures often lead to a reduced muscular function, and in some cases result in a complete graft failure. So, there is a demand for additional therapeutic options to improve muscle loss recovery.

The method being tested in the new study seeks to improve the functional capacity of the damaged muscle by inducing de novo regeneration of skeletal muscle via the integration of transplanted cells.

A research team at the Center for Nanomedicine within the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) in Seoul, South Korea, Yonsei University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have devised a new set of protocols for artificial muscle regeneration. 

The team achieved effective treatment of muscle loss in a mouse model by employing direct cell reprogramming technology in combination with a natural-synthetic hybrid scaffold.

Direct cell reprogramming, also called direct conversion, provides effective cell therapy by allowing the rapid generation of patient-specific target cells using cells from a tissue biopsy. Fibroblasts are the cells that are commonly found within the connective tissues, and they are extensively involved in wound healing. As the fibroblasts are not terminally differentiated cells, it is possible to turn them into induced myogenic progenitor cells (iMPCs) using several different transcription factors. 

In the latest project, this strategy was applied to provide iMPC for muscle tissue engineering.

In order to provide structural support for the proliferating muscle cells, polycaprolactone (PCL), was chosen as a material for the fabrication of a porous scaffold due to its high biocompatibility. 

The resulting bio-engineered muscle fibre constructs showed mechanical stiffness similar to that of muscle tissues and exhibited enhanced muscle differentiation and elongated muscle alignment in vitro. 

Furthermore, implantation of bio-engineered muscle constructs in mise not only promoted muscle regeneration with increased nerve responses and blood flow, but also facilitated the functional recovery of damaged muscles. 

More information is available here.