The aim of this study was to investigate whether insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I gene delivery to myoblast cells promotes the contractile force generated by hydrogel-based tissue-engineered skeletal muscles in vitro. Two retroviral vectors allowing doxycycline (Dox)-inducible expression of the IGF-I gene were transduced into mouse myoblast C2C12 cells to evaluate the effects of IGF-I gene expression on these cells. IGF-I gene expression stimulated the proliferation of C2C12 cells, and a significant increase in the growth rate was observed for IGF-I-transduced C2C12 cells with Dox addition, designated C2C12/IGF (Dox+) cells. Quantitative morphometric analyses showed that the myotubes induced from C2C12/IGF (Dox+) cells had a larger area and a greater width than control myotubes induced from normal C2C12 cells. Artificial skeletal muscle tissues were prepared from the respective cells using hydrogels composed of type I collagen and Matrigel. Western blot analyses revealed that the C2C12/IGF (Dox+) tissue constructs showed activation of a skeletal muscle hypertrophy marker (Akt) and enhanced expression of muscle-specific markers (myogenin, myosin heavy chain and tropomyosin). Moreover, the creatine kinase activity was increased in the C2C12/IGF (Dox+) tissue constructs. The C2C12/IGF (Dox+) tissue constructs contracted in response to electrical pulses, and generated a significantly higher physical force than the control C2C12 tissue constructs. These findings indicate that IGF-I gene transfer has the potential to yield functional skeletal muscle substitutes that are capable of in vivo restoration of the load-bearing function of injured muscle or acting as in vitro electrically-controlled bio-actuators.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology