Bioengineered Muscle Grows In Mice

Biomedical engineers at Duke University have grown living skeletal muscle that looks a lot like the real thing. It contracts powerfully and rapidly and integrates into mice quickly.

For the first time, bioengineered muscle demonstrates the ability to heal itself inside an animal.


(Bioengineered muscle vascularizes video)

With the help of Greg Palmer, an assistant professor of radiation oncology in the Duke University School of Medicine, the team inserted their lab-grown muscle into a small chamber placed on the backs of live mice. The chamber was then covered by a glass panel. Every two days for two weeks, Juhas imaged the implanted muscles through the window to check on their progress.

By genetically modifying the muscle fibers to produce fluorescent flashes during calcium spikes—which cause muscle to contract— the researchers could watch the flashes become brighter as the muscle grew stronger.

“We could see and measure in real time how blood vessels grew into the implanted muscle fibers, maturing toward equaling the strength of its native counterpart,” said Juhas.

The engineers are now beginning work to see if their biomimetic muscle can be used to repair actual muscle injuries and disease.

“Can it vascularize, innervate and repair the damaged muscle’s function?” asked Bursac. “That is what we will be working on for the next several years.”

The first time I ever thought about such a thing was after reading William Gibons's 1984 novel Neuromancer.

[Wage] was flanked by his joeboys, nearly identical young men, their arms and shoulders bulging with grafted muscle.
(Read more about William Gibson's grafted muscle joeboys)

Via Duke University.

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