Impact of Passaging Primary Skeletal Muscle Cell Isolates on the Engineering of Skeletal Muscle

Tissue Eng Part A. 2024 Jun 14. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEA.2024.0044. Online ahead of print.


Volumetric muscle loss (VML) is a clinical state that results in impaired skeletal muscle function. Engineered skeletal muscle can serve as a treatment for VML. Currently, large biopsies are required to achieve the cells necessary for the fabrication of engineered muscle, leading to donor site morbidity. Amplification of cell numbers using cell passaging may increase the usefulness of a single muscle biopsy for engineering muscle tissue. In this study, we evaluated the impact of passaging cells obtained from donor muscle tissue by analyzing characteristics of in-vitro cellular growth and tissue-engineered skeletal muscle unit (SMU) structure and function. Human skeletal muscle cell isolates from three separate donors (P0-Control) were compared to cells passaged once (P1), twice (P2), or three times (P3) by monitoring SMU force production and determining muscle content and structure using immunohistochemistry. Data indicated that passaging decreased the number of satellite cells and increased the population doubling time. P1 SMUs had slightly greater contractile force and P2 SMUs showed statistically significant greater force production compared to P0 SMUs with no change in SMU muscle content. In conclusion, human skeletal muscle cells can be passaged twice without negatively impacting SMU muscle content or contractile function, providing the opportunity to potentially create larger SMUs from smaller biopsies, thereby producing clinically relevant sized grafts to aid in VML repair.