Effect of nano- and micro-scale topological features on alignment of muscle cells and commitment of myogenic differentiation

Soumen Jana, Matthew Leung, Julia Chang, Miqin Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Skeletal muscle injury can lead to severe motor deficits that adversely affect movement and quality of life. Current surgical treatments for skeletal muscle are hindered by the poor formation of organized myotube bundles at the wound site. Tissue-engineered skeletal muscle constructs to date have been unable to generate high degrees of myotube density and alignment. Generating a suitable in vitro tissue-engineered skeletal muscle construct requires the design of a scaffold that recapitulates the structural combination of nanoscale collagen fibrils and aligned microscale basal lamina tracks present in the native extracellular matrix (ECM). We hypothesized that a 3D aligned tubular porous scaffold containing aligned nanofibers inside the pores can mimic the native muscle tissue environment. We constructed a laminar section of the hypothesized scaffold with aligned chitosan-PCL nanofibers arranged co-axially with the aligned microscale chitosan scaffold bands to mimic the required myogenic environment. A 6-day study of C2C12 mouse myoblast cells cultured on this hybrid scaffold indicated that the nanofibers and scaffold bands in the scaffold played a synergetic role in directing cell orientation, interaction, migration and organization. Our results showed that aligned nanofibers mediated cell alignment and the aligned scaffold bands induced the formation of a more compact assembly of myotube cells as compared to various control substrates including chitosan films, nanofibers, and chitosan bands. The expression levels of both early and late-stage myogenic differentiation genes associated with myogenin and myosin heavy chain, respectively, were higher on the hybrid substrate than on control substrates. Our study suggests that the combination of nano and microscale topological features in the ECM can direct myogenic differentiation, and the hybrid material has the potential to improve the outcome of skeletal tissue engineering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number35012
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Aligned
  • Electrospinning
  • Muscle tissue engineering
  • Nanofiber
  • Scaffold

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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