Nanofiber-based in vitro system for high myogenic differentiation of human embryonic stem cells

Matthew Leung, Ashleigh Cooper, Soumen Jana, Ching Ting Tsao, Timothy A. Petrie, Miqin Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Myogenic progenitor cells derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) can provide unlimited sources of cells in muscle regeneration but their clinical uses are largely hindered by the lack of efficient methods to induce differentiation of stem cells into myogenic cells. We present a novel approach to effectively enhance myogenic differentiation of human embryonic stem cells using aligned chitosan-polycaprolactone (C-PCL) nanofibers constructed to resemble the microenvironment of the native muscle extracellular matrix (ECM) in concert with Wnt3a protein. The myogenic differentiation was assessed by cell morphology, gene activities, and protein expression. hESCs grown on C-PCL uniaxially aligned nanofibers in media containing Wnt3a displayed an elongated morphology uniformly aligned in the direction of fiber orientation, with increased expressions of marker genes and proteins associated with myogenic differentiation as compared to control substrates. The combination of Wnt3a signaling and aligned C-PCL nanofibers resulted in high percentages of myogenic-protein expressing cells over total treated hESCs (83% My5, 91% Myf6, 83% myogenin, and 63% MHC) after 2 days of cell culture. Significantly, this unprecedented high-level and fast myogenic differentiation of hESC was demonstrated in a culture medium containing no feeder cells. This study suggests that chitosan-based aligned nanofibers combined with Wnt3a can potentially act as a model system for embryonic myogenesis and muscle regeneration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4207-4216
Number of pages10
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 9 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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