Self-healing muscles grown in a laboratory.

Recently, a scientist at Duke University and a graduated student of this same varsity had created a living muscle tissue which is able to heal itself. Both researchers believe that more investigation and development will come to help humans recovering from many different muscle injuries.

This muscle has shown being able to quickly integrate into lab mice, and also have the quality of being more than 10 times stronger than any other previously engineered muscle ever developed, as Quartz has published. It also can heal itself both in the living animal and inside the laboratory.

This research has been made in Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. Lead researcher Nenad Bursac told that perhaps the most exciting development was that they were able to isolate stem cells from mouse muscle and then grow them into muscle fibers.“We got them to grow into strongly contracting fibers,” he said. “This is the first time we’ve seen muscle fibers contract so strongly in the lab. It was comparable to the contracting forces you’d see in an actual mouse muscle.”

Lab muscles' recovery period in mice.

Lab muscles’ recovery period in mice.

They injected many of the undefined stem cells with cobra venom, which killed the original tissue within a half hour. The new fibers, though, proved reliable enough to resist the venom and heal the damage that had already been done.

The muscle we have made represents an important advance for the field. It’s the first time engineered muscle has been created that contracts as strongly as native neonatal skeletal muscle,”Dr. Bursac told the Telegraph: “Can it vascularize, innervate and repair the damaged muscle’s function? That is what we will be working on for the next several years.”

The artificial vascularization process, which would provide a channel through which body fluid can travel, is not expected to be discovered for 10-15 years, at which point Dr. Brusac predicted it would be worthy of a Nobel Prize. This is a way how we can realize the importance of this research.The findings were first published this week in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences.

Muscle recovery through days.

Muscle recovery through days.

The stem cells don’t just build these fibers,” Bursac said. “They sit next to the muscle fibers, and if there’s an injury – if a muscle is torn, and some fibers die – these cells jump in and fuse to rebuild the lost tissue.”

Dr. Bursac said he is trying to take that process out of the Duke labs and into hospitals, where it could eventually benefit professional athletes trying to return from an injury or elderly surgery patients, although it would have too many applications with time.  The lead researcher admitted that, even though news of the mice study is just being made public now, his team has already completed successful trials with human tissue.

Researchers are optimistic that they will be able to fully replace an injured muscle soon, although a realistic timeline is difficult to come by. To complete the process effectively, doctors would need to extract a small muscle, sample harvest cells from it, use that sample to grow new tissue, and then transfer it back to the same individual.

Aside from the difficulty the timeline would present, scientists still only have a small sample size they can use for experiments. Bursac told Quartz that a single human biopsy only yields a small number of stem cells, which become weaker as they are expanded more and more.

Let’s say you’re rebuilding a facial muscle,” he said. “For a human, that’s a large muscle mass. The cells in the center of the muscle would die from lack of nutrients. You need to make a vasculature system that could sustain life while the muscle was outside the body.”

To complete the information of this research you can watch these three youtube videos, one from the Duke University and the other two from science news.

Vasculature in action

Self-healing muscles

Duke scientist engineer self-regenerating muscles

I’ve found this research very interesting, and I also believe that it will have too many applications with time and development. This will signify a great advance in biomedical field if they continue working on it. And if someday it could be applied to heart diseases human lifes will became improved by years. The lead researcher mentioned that it willl be worthy of a Nobel Prize if they do not stop its investigation, I really agree with him. The possibility of healing a damaged muscle fiber just by using stem cells of its own body ti’s really amazing.


The Telegraph





Duke University news

Original Source:

The original source of this research has been published on this web site PNA


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3 Responses to Self-healing muscles grown in a laboratory.

  1. Last researches in the fields of biology and biomedical are really awesome. Investigations with stem cell have got nowadays a lot of applications in the field of medicine despite the controversy that there was with them at first. If scientists keep doing investigations it could greatly improve our lives . This particular case that can help to regenerate muscle tissues affected by injuries could have many aplications in the future and I am sure that it could get the Nobel Price if they keep researching.

    I am not able to see your first video “Vasculature in action”, it may be an error with the link.

  2. Well done, but maybe a little more condensed would be better.

    >> You should know that the first link in your original source references is just a news release from Duke University, as can be seen in the header. The real original source is the second you list, from PNAS. Your link goes to the results of your search, in the PNAS website. Obviously, as you point out, the correct paper is the first listed. But you’d go further and click on ‘Abstract’ to go to this particular paper (the only link that should be under ‘Original source’ in your post).

    > By clicking on “Supporting information” you can go to an pdf file where you can find information on methods used:

    Engineering of Muscle Bundles. Large single muscle bundles and smaller tri-bundle muscle implants were formed within polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) molds containing a single semicylindrical well (1.25 cm long, 3 mm diameter) or three semi-cylindrical wells (7 mm long, 2 mm diameter), respectively, cast from 3D-machined Teflon masters

    > You write: “…the full research on PDF, but you have to pay for its view”. Let me show you a trick: If you paste the title of the academic article you want to see in Google, followed by “filetype:pdf”, you’ll sometimes have full access to the original article (hosted in a different web server, in this case belonging to Duke University). We can examine the full text and read there:

    Structure of Engineered Muscle. Engineered muscle bundles (Fig. 1A) were created using a neonatal rat myogenic cell population that predominantly consisted of Pax7+/MyoD+ activated satellite cells (SCs) and a small fraction of myogenin+ precursors, but no evidence of ndothelial or smooth muscle cells)

    So, that’s the way they have done it!

    >> As Angela has already commented, the link to your first video is broken.

    >> Maybe we will better include one of your tags (“Medicina rexenerativa”) in our categories. There has been several posts on this subject this year.

    • Sergio Rocha Rouco di:

      I’ve corrected the post as you said. The new from Duke’s University is now with all the other sources and no in the original source and I think that this broken link to the first video is now available to see. Thanks for the correction.

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