Fine-tuning of substrate architecture and surface chemistry promotes muscle tissue development
Tissue engineering has been increasingly brought to the scientific spotlight in response to the tremendous demand for regeneration, restoration or substitution of skeletal or cardiac muscle after traumatic injury, tumour ablation or myocardial infarction. In vitro generation of a highly organized and contractile muscle tissue, however, crucially depends on an appropriate design of the cell culture substrate. The present work evaluated the impact of substrate properties, in particular morphology, chemical surface composition and mechanical properties, on muscle cell fate. To this end, aligned and randomly oriented micron (3.3 ± 0.8 μm) or nano (237 ± 98 nm) scaled fibrous poly(ε-caprolactone) non-wovens were processed by electrospinning. A nanometer-thick oxygen functional hydrocarbon coating was deposited by a radio frequency plasma process. C2C12 muscle cells were grown on pure and as-functionalized substrates and analysed for viability, proliferation, spatial orientation, differentiation and contractility. Cell orientation has been shown to depend strongly on substrate architecture, being most pronounced on micron-scaled parallel-oriented fibres. Oxygen functional hydrocarbons, representing stable, non-immunogenic surface groups, were identified as strong triggers for myotube differentiation. Accordingly, the highest myotube density (28 ± 15% of total substrate area), sarcomeric striation and contractility were found on plasma-coated substrates. The current study highlights the manifold material characteristics to be addressed during the substrate design process and provides insight into processes to improve bio-interfaces.
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Journal: Acta Biomaterialia - Volume 8, Issue 4, April 2012, Pages 1481–1489