Aligned and electrically conductive 3D collagen scaffolds for skeletal muscle tissue engineering†
Skeletal muscle is characterized by its three-dimensional (3D) anisotropic architecture composed of highly aligned and electrically-excitable muscle fibers that enable normal movement. Biomaterial-based tissue engineering approaches to repair skeletal muscle are limited due to difficulties combining 3D structural alignment (to guide cell/matrix organization) and electrical conductivity (to enable electrically-excitable myotube assembly and maturation). In this work we successfully produced aligned and electrically conductive 3D collagen scaffolds using a freeze-drying approach. Conductive polypyrrole (PPy) nanoparticles were synthesized and directly mixed into a suspension of type I collagen and chondroitin sulfate followed by directional lyophilization. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy-dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), and confocal microscopy showed that directional solidification resulted in scaffolds with longitudinally aligned pores with homogeneously-distributed PPy content. Chronopotentiometry verified that PPy incorporation resulted in a five-fold increase in conductivity compared to non-PPy-containing collagen scaffolds without detrimentally affecting myoblast metabolic activity. Furthermore, the aligned scaffold microstructure provided contact guidance cues that directed myoblast growth and organization. Incorporation of PPy also promoted enhanced myotube formation and maturation as measured by myosin heavy chain (MHC) expression and number of nuclei per myotube. Together these data suggest that aligned and electrically conductive 3D collagen scaffolds could be useful for skeletal muscle tissue engineering.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Biomaterials Science Most Popular 2021