Excitability and isometric contractile properties of mammalian skeletal muscle constructs engineered in vitro

In Vitro Cell Dev Biol Anim. 2000 May;36(5):327-35. doi: 10.1290/1071-2690(2000)036<0327:EAICPO>2.0.CO;2.


Our purpose was to engineer three-dimensional skeletal muscle tissue constructs from primary cultures of adult rat myogenic precursor cells, and to measure their excitability and isometric contractile properties. The constructs, termed myooids, were muscle-like in appearance, excitability, and contractile function. The myooids were 12 mm long and ranged in diameter from 0.1 to 1 mm. The myooids were engineered with synthetic tendons at each end to permit the measurement of isometric contractile properties. Within each myooid the myotubes and fibroblasts were supported by an extracellular matrix generated by the cells themselves, and did not require a preexisting scaffold to define the size, shape, and general mechanical properties of the resulting structure. Once formed, the myooids contracted spontaneously at approximately 1 Hz, with peak-to-peak force amplitudes ranging from 3 to 30 microN. When stimulated electrically the myooids contracted to produce force. The myooids (n = 14) had the following mean values: diameter of 0.49 mm, rheobase of 1.0 V/mm, chronaxie of 0.45 ms, twitch force of 215 microN, maximum isometric force of 440 microN, resting baseline force of 181 microN, and specific force of 2.9 kN/m2. The mean specific force was approximately 1% of the specific force generated by control adult rat muscle. Based on the functional data, the myotubes in the myooids appear to remain arrested in an early developmental state due to the absence of signals to promote expression of adult myosin isoforms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / cytology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / physiology*