Tissue-engineered skeletal muscle should possess a high cell-dense structure with unidirectional cell alignment. However, limited nutrient and/or oxygen supply within the artificial tissue constructs might restrict cell viability and muscular functions. In this study, we genetically modified myoblast cells with the anti-apoptotic B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) gene and evaluated their function in artificial skeletal muscle tissue constructs. Magnetite cationic liposomes were used to magnetically label C2C12 myoblast cells for the construction of skeletal muscle bundles by applying a magnetic force. Bcl-2-overexpressing muscle bundles formed highly cell-dense and viable tissue constructs, while muscle bundles without Bcl-2 overexpression exhibited substantial necrosis/apoptosis at the central region of the bundle. Bcl-2-overexpressing muscle bundles contracted in response to electrical pulses and generated a significantly higher physical force. These findings indicate that the incorporation of anti-apoptotic gene-transduced myoblast cells into tissue constructs significantly enhances skeletal muscle formation and function.
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