Decellularized muscle as a scaffold for extraocular muscle tissue engineering
Injuries to skeletal muscle are dramatically impacting patient’s lives, limiting their daily activities. Depending on the defect, current treatment is either not possible or involves autologous tissue transfer, which leads to donor site morbidity and incomplete functional recovery. Tissue engineered muscle may provide an alternative for muscle repair and can also be used to study development, disease and drug effects in vitro. We propose to use decellularized skeletal muscle tissue as a scaffold for regeneration. In particular, we will focus on the extraocular muscles, due to their specific characteristics; these muscles are spared during ageing and development of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The first goal will be to establish a novel decellularization protocol to efficiently decellularize thicker (>1 mm) muscle tissues. Second, extraocular muscle progenitor cells will be isolated. The obtained scaffold will be reseeded with extraocular myogenic cells by a novel seeding technique. The decellularized tissues as well as the recreated muscle tissues will be mechanically characterized. In this way, we will not only develop a transplantable construct, but also create an in vitro model for studying cell-matrix interactions.