Journal of bioscience and bioengineering

Microfluidic devices for construction of contractile skeletal muscle microtissues.

PMID 25085533


Cell-culture microchips mimicking tissue/organ-specific functions are required as alternatives to animal testing for drug discovery and disease models. Although three-dimensional (3D) cell culture microfluidic devices can create more biologically relevant cellular microenvironments and higher throughput analysis platforms of cell behavior than conventional techniques, devices for skeletal muscle cells have not been developed. In the present study, we aimed to develop microfluidic devices for 3D cultures of skeletal muscle cells. Skeletal muscle cells mixed with a collagen type-I solution was introduced into the microchannel for cells (MC-C) and was gelated. Then, the medium was introduced into the microchannel for medium (MC-M). During this process, connecting microchannels (Con-MCs) prevented leakage of the collagen solution mixed with cells from MC-C to MC-M and supplied the nutrients from the medium in MC-M to the cells in MC-C. Skeletal muscle microtissues cultured in the microchannel for a week consisted of myotubes were confirmed by histological analysis and immunofluorescence staining. The skeletal muscle microtissues in the microchannel contracted in response to externally applied electrical stimulation (1 and 50xa0Hz). These results indicate that the functional skeletal muscle microtissues were constructed in the microchannel. Thus, the microfluidic device for culturing 3D skeletal muscle microtissues presented in this study has a potential to be used for drug discovery and toxicological tests.