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Biomaterials. 2012 Mar;33(8):2482-91. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2011.12.004. Epub 2011 Dec 23.

Mechanical derivation of functional myotubes from adipose-derived stem cells.

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Department of Bioengineering, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA.


Though reduced serum or myoblast co-culture alone can differentiate adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) into mesenchymal lineages, efficiency is usually not sufficient to restore function in vivo. Often when injected into fibrotic muscle, their differentiation may be misdirected by the now stiffened tissue. Here ASCs are shown to not just simply reflect the qualitative stiffness sensitivity of bone marrow-derived stem cells (BMSCs) but to exceed BMSC myogenic capacity, expressing the appropriate temporal sequence of muscle transcriptional regulators on muscle-mimicking extracellular matrix in a tension and focal adhesion-dependent manner. ASCs formed multi-nucleated myotubes with a continuous cytoskeleton that was not due to misdirected cell division; microtubule depolymerization severed myotubes, but after washout, ASCs refused at a rate similar to pre-treated values. BMSCs never underwent stiffness-mediated fusion. ASC-derived myotubes, when replated onto non-permissive stiff matrix, maintained their fused state. Together these data imply enhanced mechanosensitivity for ASCs, making them a better therapeutic cell source for fibrotic muscle.

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