Milliscale Substrate Curvature Promotes Myoblast Self-Organization and Differentiation

December 3, 2022

Authors: Connon, Che J.; Gouveia, Ricardo M.

Keywords: cellular agriculture, cultured meat, laboratory-grown meat, In vitro meat production

Biological tissues comprise complex structural environments known to influence cell behavior via multiple interdependent sensing and transduction mechanisms. Yet, and despite the predominantly nonplanar geometry of these environments, the impact of tissue-size (milliscale) curvature on cell behavior is largely overlooked or underestimated. This study explores how concave, hemicylinder-shaped surfaces 3–50 mm in diameter affect the migration, proliferation, orientation, and differentiation of C2C12 myoblasts. Notably, these milliscale cues significantly affect cell responses compared with planar substrates, with myoblasts grown on surfaces 7.5–15 mm in diameter showing prevalent migration and alignment parallel to the curvature axis. Moreover, surfaces within this curvature range promote myoblast differentiation and the formation of denser, more compact tissues comprising highly oriented multinucleated myotubes. Based on the similarity of effects, it is further proposed that myoblast susceptibility to substrate curvature depends on mechanotransduction signaling. This model thus supports the notion that cellular responses to substrate curvature and compliance share the same molecular pathways and that control of cell behavior can be achieved via modulation of either individual parameter or in combination. This correlation is relevant for elucidating how muscle tissue forms and heals, as well as for designing better biomaterials and more appropriate cell–surface interfaces.

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  • Cite as: Connon, Che J., & Gouveia, Ricardo M. (2021). Milliscale Substrate Curvature Promotes Myoblast Self-Organization and Differentiation.
  • License: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International