Year 3

During the reporting period, we successfully developed a protocol for deriving progenitor cells from human embryonic stem cells, which is being written up for a publication. The ESC-derived progenitor cells were found to undergo both myogenesis in vitro and in vivo. We were able to significantly expand these cells in vitro and the in vitro cultured cells expressed a number of muscle markers Pax3, Myf5, desmin, and MyoG. A muscle injury model was then used to investigate the in vivo viability and engraftment efficiency of these cells. A significant fraction of the transplanted cells were found to be engrafted. Additionally, we observed localization of a large number of transplanted cells in the centers of muscle fibers indicating the contribution of the transplanted cells towards the muscle regeneration. We have also developed a muscle-like synthetic material (termed as electromechanical material) that simultaneously provides mechanical and electrical cues to the embedded cells. A manuscript based on these results is published in Advanced Functional Materials, a highly regarded journal in interdisciplinary materials science. This work also received significant press coverage. The above-developed system will allow us determine the effect of various physicochemical cues of the matrix on myogenic commitment and maturation of progenitor cells.