Engineering Anisotropic Muscle Tissue using Acoustic Cell Patterning

Armstrong, J. P. K., Puetzer, J. L., Serio, A., Guex, A. G., Kapnisi, M., Breant, A., Zong, Y., Assal, V., Skaalure, S.C., King, O., Murty, T., Meinert, C., Franklin, A.C., Bassindale, P.G., Nichols, M.K., Terracciano, C.M., Hutmacher, D.W., Drinkwater, B.W., Klein, T.J., Perriman, A.J., Stevens, M.M. (2018). Engineering Anisotropic Muscle Tissue using Acoustic Cell Patterning. Advanced Materials, 30(43), 1802649.


Tissue engineering has offered unique opportunities for disease modeling and regenerative medicine; however, the success of these strategies is dependent on faithful reproduction of native cellular organization. Here, it is reported that ultrasound standing waves can be used to organize myoblast populations in material systems for the engineering of aligned muscle tissue constructs. Patterned muscle engineered using type I collagen hydrogels exhibits significant anisotropy in tensile strength, and under mechanical constraint, produced microscale alignment on a cell and fiber level. Moreover, acoustic patterning of myoblasts in gelatin methacryloyl hydrogels significantly enhances myofibrillogenesis and promotes the formation of muscle fibers containing aligned bundles of myotubes, with a width of 120–150 µm and a spacing of 180–220 µm. The ability to remotely pattern fibers of aligned myotubes without any material cues or complex fabrication procedures represents a significant advance in the field of muscle tissue engineering. In general, these results are the first instance of engineered cell fibers formed from the differentiation of acoustically patterned cells. It is anticipated that this versatile methodology can be applied to many complex tissue morphologies, with broader relevance for spatially organized cell cultures, organoid development, and bioelectronics.

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