Purdue University Graduate School
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posted on 2022-01-31, 15:35 authored by Naagarajan NarayananNaagarajan Narayanan
Skeletal muscle injuries and muscle degenerative diseases pose significant challenges to the healthcare. Surgical interventions are restricted due to tissue availability, donor site morbidity and alterations to tissue biomechanics. Current cell-based therapies are hindered by low survival and long-term engraftment for the transplanted cells due to the lack of appropriate supportive microenvironment (cell niche) in the injured muscle. Therefore, there is a critical need for developing strategies that provide cellular and structural support in the regeneration of functional muscle. In the present work, a bioengineered cell niche mimicking the native skeletal muscle microenvironment has been developed for skeletal muscle regenerative engineering. It is hypothesized that the bioengineered scaffolds with appropriate structural and cell instructive properties will support myoblast alignment and function, as well as promote the myogenic responses in clinically relevant skeletal muscle injuries. The current work utilized a three-pronged approach to design biomaterial scaffolds to aid in skeletal muscle regeneration. In the first part, aligned poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) fiber scaffolds mimicking the oriented muscle fiber microenvironment with fiber diameters of 335±154 nm (nanoscale), 1352±225 nm (microscale) and 3013±531 nm (microscale) were fabricated and characterized. Myoblasts were found to respond to fiber diameter as observed from the differences in cell alignment, cell elongation, cell spreading area, proliferation and differentiation. In vivo study demonstrated the potential of using microscale fiber scaffolds to improve myogenic potential in the mdx mouse model. In the second part, we designed, synthesized, and characterized an implantable glycosaminoglycan-based composite hydrogel consisting of hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulfate and polyethylene glycol (HA-CS) with tailored structural and mechanical properties for skeletal muscle regeneration applications. We demonstrated that HA-CS hydrogels provided a suitable microenvironment for in vitro myoblast proliferation and differentiation. Furthermore, in vivo studies using a volumetric muscle loss model in the mouse quadriceps showed that HA-CS hydrogels integrated with the surrounding host tissue and facilitated de novo myofiber generation, angiogenesis, nerve innervation and minimized scar tissue formation. In the third part, we investigated the effects of PC12 secreted signaling factors in modulating C2C12 myoblast behavior. We showed that PC12 conditioned media modulated myoblast proliferation and differentiation in both 2D culture and 3D aligned electrospun fiber scaffold system in a dose dependent manner. We also demonstrated the biomimetic HA-CS hydrogel system enabled 3D encapsulation of PC12 cells secreting signaling factors and promoted survival and proliferation of myoblasts in co-culture. Further proteomics analysis identified a total of 2088 protein/peptides from the secretome of the encapsulated PC12 cells and revealed the biological role and overlapping functions of nerve secreted proteins for skeletal muscle regeneration, potentially through regulating myoblast behavior, nerve function, and angiogenesis. These set of experiments not only provide critical insight on exploiting the interactions between muscle cells and their microenvironment, but they also open new avenues for developing advanced bioengineered scaffolds for regenerative engineering of skeletal muscle tissues.


NIH R03AR068108

Bilsland Dissertation Fellowship


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Meng Deng

Additional Committee Member 2

Shihuan Kuang

Additional Committee Member 3

Owen G Jones

Additional Committee Member 4

Ganesan Narsimhan