Bioengineered human skeletal muscle capable of functional regeneration.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Skeletal muscle (SkM) regenerates following injury, replacing damaged tissue with high fidelity. However, in serious injuries, non-regenerative defects leave patients with loss of function, increased re-injury risk and often chronic pain. Progress in treating these non-regenerative defects has been slow, with advances only occurring where a comprehensive understanding of regeneration has been gained. Tissue engineering has allowed the development of bioengineered models of SkM which regenerate following injury to support research in regenerative physiology. To date, however, no studies have utilised human myogenic precursor cells (hMPCs) to closely mimic functional human regenerative physiology. RESULTS:Here we address some of the difficulties associated with cell number and hMPC mitogenicity using magnetic association cell sorting (MACS), for the marker CD56, and media supplementation with fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF-2) and B-27 supplement. Cell sorting allowed extended expansion of myogenic cells and supplementation was shown to improve myogenesis within engineered tissues and force generation at maturity. In addition, these engineered human SkM regenerated following barium chloride (BaCl2) injury. Following injury, reductions in function (87.5%) and myotube number (33.3%) were observed, followed by a proliferative phase with increased MyoD+ cells and a subsequent recovery of function and myotube number. An expansion of the Pax7+ cell population was observed across recovery suggesting an ability to generate Pax7+ cells within the tissue, similar to the self-renewal of satellite cells seen in vivo. CONCLUSIONS:This work outlines an engineered human SkM capable of functional regeneration following injury, built upon an open source system adding to the pre-clinical testing toolbox to improve the understanding of basic regenerative physiology.
Project description:Peptide YY (PYY) is considered a gut peptide with roles in post-prandial appetite and glucose regulation. Circulating PYY protein levels increase during aerobic exercise. Furthermore, people who have greater increases in muscle progenitor cells (hMPCs), the adult stem cell population responsible for skeletal muscle (SkM) repair, after resistance training have higher PYY transcript levels in SkM prior to training. Currently, examination of PYY expression patterns in SkM and/or hMPCs is lacking. Our objective was to identify the expression patterns of PYY in SkM and hMPCs. PYY and the associated Y receptors were analyzed in SkM biopsy tissue and cultured hMPCs from young and old human participants. Additional experiments to assess the role and regulation of PYY in hMPCs were performed. In SkM, PYY and one of the three Y receptors (Y1r) were detectable, but expression patterns were not affected by age. In expanding hMPCs, PYY and all three Y receptor (Y1r, Y2r, and Y5r) proteins were expressed in a temporal fashion with young hMPCs having greater levels of Y receptors at various time points. Exogenous PYY did not affect hMPC population expansion. hMPC PYY levels increased following the metabolic stimulus, 5-Aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide ribonucleotide (AICAR), but were not affected by the inflammatory stimulus, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF?). In conclusion, PYY and Y receptor expression are not impacted by age in SkM tissue but are reduced in old vs. young expanding hMPCs. Furthermore, endogenous PYY production is stimulated by low energy states and thus may be integral for skeletal muscle and hMPC responses to metabolic stimuli.
Project description:In adult skeletal muscle, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is expressed in myogenic progenitors known as satellite cells. To functionally address the role of BDNF in muscle satellite cells and regeneration in vivo, we generated a mouse in which BDNF is specifically depleted from skeletal muscle cells. For comparative purposes, and to determine the specific role of muscle-derived BDNF, we also examined muscles of the complete BDNF(-/-) mouse. In both models, expression of the satellite cell marker Pax7 was significantly decreased. Furthermore, proliferation and differentiation of primary myoblasts was abnormal, exhibiting delayed induction of several markers of differentiation as well as decreased myotube size. Treatment with exogenous BDNF protein was sufficient to rescue normal gene expression and myotube size. Because satellite cells are responsible for postnatal growth and repair of skeletal muscle, we next examined whether regenerative capacity was compromised. After injury, BDNF-depleted muscle showed delayed expression of several molecular markers of regeneration, as well as delayed appearance of newly regenerated fibers. Recovery of wild-type BDNF levels was sufficient to restore normal regeneration. Together, these findings suggest that BDNF plays an important role in regulating satellite cell function and regeneration in vivo, particularly during early stages.
Project description:Optimal cell-based therapies for the treatment of muscle degenerative disorders should not only regenerate fibers but provide a quiescent satellite cell pool ensuring long-term maintenance and regeneration. Conditional expression of Pax3/Pax7 in differentiating pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) allows the generation of myogenic progenitors endowed with enhanced regenerative capacity. To identify the molecular determinants underlying their regenerative potential, we performed transcriptome analyses of these cells along with primary myogenic cells from several developmental stages. Here we show that in vitro-generated PSC-derived myogenic progenitors possess a molecular signature similar to embryonic/fetal myoblasts. However, compared with fetal myoblasts, following transplantation they show superior myofiber engraftment and ability to seed the satellite cell niche, respond to multiple reinjuries, and contribute to long-term regeneration. Upon engraftment, the transcriptome of reisolated Pax3/Pax7-induced PSC-derived myogenic progenitors changes toward a postnatal molecular signature, particularly in genes involved in extracellular matrix remodeling. These findings demonstrate that Pax3/Pax7-induced myogenic progenitors remodel their molecular signature and functionally mature upon in vivo exposure to the adult muscle environment.
Project description:An effective long-term cell therapy for skeletal muscle regeneration requires donor contribution to both muscle fibers and the muscle stem cell pool. Although satellite cells have these abilities, their therapeutic potential so far has been limited due to their scarcity in adult muscle. Myogenic progenitors obtained from Pax3-engineered mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells have the ability to generate myofibers and to improve the contractility of transplanted muscles in vivo, however, whether these cells contribute to the muscle stem cell pool and are able to self-renew in vivo are still unknown. Here, we addressed this question by investigating the ability of Pax3, which plays a critical role in embryonic muscle formation, and Pax7, which is important for maintenance of the muscle satellite cell pool, to promote the derivation of self-renewing functional myogenic progenitors from ES cells. We show that Pax7, like Pax3, can drive the expansion of an ES-derived myogenic progenitor with significant muscle regenerative potential. We further demonstrate that a fraction of transplanted cells remains mononuclear, and displays key features of skeletal muscle stem cells, including satellite cell localization, response to reinjury, and contribution to muscle regeneration in secondary transplantation assays. The ability to engraft, self-renew, and respond to injury provide foundation for the future therapeutic application of ES-derived myogenic progenitors in muscle disorders.
Project description:Skeletal muscle harbors quiescent stem cells termed satellite cells and proliferative progenitors termed myoblasts, which play pivotal roles during muscle regeneration. However, current technology does not allow permanent capture of these cell populations in vitro. Here, we show that ectopic expression of the myogenic transcription factor MyoD, combined with exposure to small molecules, reprograms mouse fibroblasts into expandable induced myogenic progenitor cells (iMPCs). iMPCs express key skeletal muscle stem and progenitor cell markers including Pax7 and Myf5 and give rise to dystrophin-expressing myofibers upon transplantation in vivo. Notably, a subset of transplanted iMPCs maintain Pax7 expression and sustain serial regenerative responses. Similar to satellite cells, iMPCs originate from Pax7<sup>+</sup> cells and require Pax7 itself for maintenance. Finally, we show that myogenic progenitor cell lines can be established from muscle tissue following small-molecule exposure alone. This study thus reports on a robust approach to derive expandable myogenic stem/progenitor-like cells from multiple cell types.
Project description:Satellite cells are the resident stem cell population of the adult mammalian skeletal muscle and they play a crucial role in its homeostasis and in its regenerative capacity after injury. We show here that the Polycomb group (PcG) gene Bmi1 is expressed in both the Pax7 positive (+)/Myf5 negative (-) stem cell population as well as the Pax7+/Myf5+ committed myogenic progenitor population. Depletion of Pax7+/Myf5- satellite cells with reciprocal increase in Pax7+/Myf5+ as well as MyoD positive (+) cells is seen in Bmi1-/- mice leading to reduced postnatal muscle fiber size and impaired regeneration upon injury. Bmi1-/- satellite cells have a reduced proliferative capacity and fail to re-enter the cell cycle when stimulated by high serum conditions in vitro, in keeping with a cell intrinsic defect. Thus, both the in vivo and in vitro results suggest that Bmi1 plays a crucial role in the maintenance of the stem cell pool in postnatal skeletal muscle and is essential for efficient muscle regeneration after injury especially after repeated muscle injury.
Project description:The Pax7 transcription factor is required for muscle satellite cell biogenesis and specification of the myogenic precursor lineage. Pax7 is expressed in proliferating myoblasts but is rapidly downregulated during differentiation. Here we report that miR-206 and -486 are induced during myoblast differentiation and downregulate Pax7 by directly targeting its 3' untranslated region (UTR). Expression of either of these microRNAs in myoblasts accelerates differentiation, whereas inhibition of these microRNAs causes persistence of Pax7 protein and delays differentiation. A microRNA-resistant form of Pax7 is sufficient to inhibit differentiation. Since both these microRNAs are induced by MyoD and since Pax7 promotes the expression of Id2, an inhibitor of MyoD, our results revealed a bistable switch that exists either in a Pax7-driven myoblast state or a MyoD-driven myotube state.
Project description:Skeletal muscle tissue provides mechanical force for locomotion of all vertebrate animals. It is prone to damage from acute physical trauma and physiological stress. To cope with this, it possesses a tremendous capacity for rapid and effective repair that is widely held to be accomplished by the satellite cells lying between the muscle fiber plasmalemma and the basement membrane. Cell transplantation and lineage-tracing studies have demonstrated that Pax7-expressing (Pax7(+)) satellite cells can repair damaged muscle tissue repeatedly after several bouts of acute injury. These findings provided evidence that Pax7(+) cells are muscle stem cells. However, stem cells from a variety of other origins are also reported to contribute to myofibers upon engraftment into muscles, questioning whether satellite cells are the only stem cell source for muscle regeneration. Here, we have engineered genetic ablation of Pax7(+) cells to test whether there is any significant contribution to muscle regeneration after acute injury from cells other than this source. We find that such elimination of Pax7(+) cells completely blocks regenerative myogenesis either following injury to the tibialis anterior (TA) muscle or after transplantation of extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles into nude mice. As Pax7 is specifically expressed in satellite cells, we conclude that they are essential for acute injury-induced muscle regeneration. It remains to be established whether there is any significant role for stem cells of other origins. The implications of our results for muscle stem cell-based therapy are discussed.
Project description:Engineered CRISPR/Cas9-based transcriptional activators can potently and specifically activate endogenous fate-determining genes to direct differentiation of pluripotent stem cells. Here, we demonstrate that endogenous activation of the PAX7 transcription factor results in stable epigenetic remodeling and differentiates human pluripotent stem cells into skeletal myogenic progenitor cells. Compared with exogenous overexpression of PAX7 cDNA, we find that endogenous activation results in the generation of more proliferative myogenic progenitors that can maintain PAX7 expression over multiple passages in serum-free conditions while preserving the capacity for terminal myogenic differentiation. Transplantation of human myogenic progenitors derived from endogenous activation of PAX7 into immunodeficient mice resulted in a greater number of human dystrophin+ myofibers compared with exogenous PAX7 overexpression. RNA-sequencing analysis also revealed transcriptome-wide differences between myogenic progenitors generated via CRISPR-based endogenous activation of PAX7 and exogenous PAX7 cDNA overexpression. These studies demonstrate the utility of CRISPR/Cas9-based transcriptional activators for controlling cell-fate decisions.
Project description:With age, adult skeletal muscle (SkM) is known to decrease in muscle mass, strength, and functional capacity, a state known as sarcopenia. Here we developed an <i>in vitro</i> three-dimensional (3D) bioengineered senescent SkM tissue using primary human myoblasts. These tissues exhibited the characteristics of atrophied muscle, including expression of senescent genes, decreased number of satellite cells, reduced number and size of myofibers, and compromised metabolism and calcium flux. As a result, senescent SkM tissues showed impaired ability to generate force in response to electrical stimulation compared with young tissues. Furthermore, in contrast to young SkM tissues, senescent tissues failed to regenerate in response to injury, possibly as a result of persistent apoptosis and failure to initiate a proliferation program. Our findings suggest that 3D senescent SkM may provide a powerful model for studying aging and a platform for drug testing and discovery of therapeutic compounds to improve the function of sarcopenic muscle. Impact statement Skeletal muscle (SkM) plays important physiological roles and has significant regenerative capacity. However, aged SkM lose their functionality and regeneration ability. In this article, we present a senescent human bioengineering SkM tissue model that can be used to investigate senescence, metabolic or genetic diseases that inflict SkM, and to test various strategies including novel small molecules that restore muscle function and promote regeneration. One key limitation of two-dimensional cell culture system is the detachment of contractile myotubes from the surface over time, thereby limiting the evaluation of myogenic function. Here we use primary human myoblasts, which exhibit all major hallmarks of aging to mimic the organization and function of native muscle. Using this system, we were able to measure the contractile function, calcium transients, and regeneration capacity of SkM tissues. We also evaluated the response of senescent SkM tissues to injury and their ability to regenerate and recover, compared with "young" tissues. Our results suggest that three-dimensional constructs enable organization of contractile units including myosin and actin filaments, thereby providing a powerful platform for the quantitative assessment of muscle myotubes in response to injury, genetic or metabolic disorders, or pharmacological testing.