Wet-spun biodegradable fibers on conducting platforms: novel architectures for muscle regeneration
Novel biosynthetic platforms supporting ex vivo growth of partially differentiated muscle cells in an aligned linear orientation that is consistent with the structural requirements of muscle tissue are described. These platforms consist of biodegradable polymer fibers spatially aligned on a conducting polymer substrate. Long multinucleated myotubes are formed from differentiation of adherent myoblasts, which align longitudinally to the fiber axis to form linear cell-seeded biosynthetic fiber constructs. The biodegradable polymer fibers bearing undifferentiated myoblasts can be detached from the substrate following culture. The ability to remove the muscle cell-seeded polymer fibers when required provides the means to use the biodegradable fibers as linear muscle-seeded scaffold components suitable for in vivo implantation into muscle. These fibers are shown to promote differentiation of muscle cells in a highly organized linear unbranched format in vitro and thereby potentially facilitate more stable integration into recipient tissue, providing structural support and mechanical protection for the donor cells. In addition, the conducting substrate on which the fibers are placed provides the potential to develop electrical stimulation paradigms for optimizing the ex vivo growth and synchronization of muscle cells on the biodegradable fibers prior to implantation into diseased or damaged muscle tissue.