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Lab-engineered muscle implants restore function in animals
Date:7/16/2012

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. July 16, 2012 New research shows that exercise is a key step in building a muscle-like implant in the lab with the potential to repair muscle damage from injury or disease. In mice, these implants successfully prompt the regeneration and repair of damaged or lost muscle tissue, resulting in significant functional improvement.

"While the body has a capacity to repair small defects in skeletal muscle, the only option for larger defects is to surgically move muscle from one part of the body to another. This is like robbing Peter to pay Paul," said George Christ, Ph.D., a professor at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center's Institute for Regenerative Medicine. "Rather than moving existing muscle, our aim is to help the body grow new muscle."

In the current issue of Tissue Engineering Part A, Christ and team build on their prior work and report their second round of experiments showing that placing cells derived from muscle tissue on a strip of biocompatible material and then "exercising" the strip in the lab results in a muscle-like implant that can prompt muscle regeneration and significant functional recovery. The researchers hope the treatment can one day help patients with muscle defects ranging from cleft lip and palate to those caused by traumatic injuries or surgery.

For the study, small samples of muscle tissue from rats and mice were processed to extract cells, which were then multiplied in the lab. The cells, at a rate of 1 million per square centimeter, were placed onto strips of a natural biological material. The material, derived from pig bladder with all cells removed, is known to be compatible with the body.

Next, the strips were placed in a computer-controlled device that slowly expands and contracts essentially "educating" the implants on how to perform in the body. This cyclic stretching and relaxation occurred three times per minute for the first five minutes of each hour for
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Contact: Karen Richardson
krchrdsn@wakehealth.edu
336-716-4453
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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