Injectable biomimetic liquid crystalline scaffolds enhance muscle stem cell transplantation [Applied Biological Sciences]
Muscle stem cells are a potent cell population dedicated to efficacious skeletal muscle regeneration, but their therapeutic utility is currently limited by mode of delivery. We developed a cell delivery strategy based on a supramolecular liquid crystal formed by peptide amphiphiles (PAs) that encapsulates cells and growth factors within a muscle-like unidirectionally ordered environment of nanofibers. The stiffness of the PA scaffolds, dependent on amino acid sequence, was found to determine the macroscopic degree of cell alignment templated by the nanofibers in vitro. Furthermore, these PA scaffolds support myogenic progenitor cell survival and proliferation and they can be optimized to induce cell differentiation and maturation. We engineered an in vivo delivery system to assemble scaffolds by injection of a PA solution that enabled coalignment of scaffold nanofibers with endogenous myofibers. These scaffolds locally retained growth factors, displayed degradation rates matching the time course of muscle tissue regeneration, and markedly enhanced the engraftment of muscle stem cells in injured and noninjured muscles in mice.
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