A Synthetic Biodegradable Oriented Scaffold for Skeletal Muscle Tissue Engineering

  • Kathryn Aviss

    Student thesis: Phd


    The aim of this project was to create a novel biodegradable, synthetic scaffold that will provide the correct topographical cues for myoblast alignment and efficient differentiation into myotubes. Skeletal muscle repair after major surgery or serious burns is often overlooked leading to poor healing and consequent loss of power in movements of affected limbs. In order to overcome this problem a tissue engineered construct could be utilised as a grafting patch to encourage further regeneration and enhance possible power to the limb. Using a biodegradable polymer can provide structural support until the tissue is established, and will be excreted by the body's natural processes as it degrades. A synthetic polymer is desirable as it can reduce the risk of immunogenic responses thus reduce risk of graft rejection. For successful in vitro growth of skeletal muscle, the cells must be encouraged to arrange themselves into parallel arrays in order for efficient fusion and consequent contraction. By incorporating the correct topographical cues into the scaffold to promote contact guidance for cellular alignment this can be achieved. Electrospinning is a reliable technique which yields highly reproducible aligned fibres from the micro- to the nanoscale. This project focuses upon creating and characterising the electrospun scaffold, checking biocompatibility with myoblasts by monitoring the topography, residual solvent within the scaffold, the mechanical properties of the scaffold, and a brief investigation into the degradation profile of the electrospun fibres. The immunogenicity of the scaffold was investigated by monitoring cytokine release from macrophages. Myoblast morphology was monitored, as was the efficiency of the cells to differentiate and their potential to become contractile myofibres. Cellular adhesion to the scaffold was also looked into by measuring the expression of integrins during early and late adhesion and on substrates with different topographies. It was found that the electrospun scaffold did not contain a significant amount of residual solvent, and macrophages were not activated any more than on tissue culture plastic. Myoblasts responded to the topography of the aligned fibres by aligning along the length of the fibres, showing elongation and bi-axial cytoskeletal arrangement after just 30 minutes culture on the aligned fibres. This elongation prompted fusion and differentiation of the myoblasts to occur faster than cells which were not exposed to the aligned topography, and this global alignment was maintained in long term culture.
    Date of Award1 Aug 2011
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • The University of Manchester
    SupervisorJulie Gough (Supervisor)


    • Poly(lactide-co-glycolide)
    • Integrins
    • Skeletal Muscle
    • Myoblast differentiation
    • Electrospinning
    • Tissue Engineering

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