Myogenic commitment of stem cells and primary myoblasts has drawn attention for developing treatments for skeletal muscle diseases. Biophysical cues as well as biochemical cues are known to influence the cellular mechanism of the myogenic differentiation event. Recent studies have revealed that topography can manipulate cellular functions by guiding the focal adhesions of cells. Substrates with nano and micro scale patterns have been shown to cause contact guidance of cells, thereby, enhancing the cellular responses. In this study, we developed a nano scale line-patterned substrate ranging from 200 to 1600 nm to investigate the topographical effect on the primary myoblasts focal adhesion, alignment, and differentiation. Primary myoblasts cultured on the line patterns showed better alignment in their morphology and expressed more muscle differentiation markers. Muscle contraction of the cells cultured on the line patterned substrates was occurring in an isotropic manner which resulted in higher contraction frequency compared to the cells cultured on the unpatterned substrate. Furthermore, we engineered neuromuscular junctions on the cultured muscle cell layer to study how topography can influence neuromuscular junction formation and control muscle contraction.
Clare is a PhD student in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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