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    The functional capabilities of skeletal muscle are strongly correlated with its well-arranged microstructure, consisting of parallelly aligned myotubes. In case of extensive muscle loss, the endogenous regenerative capacity is hindered by scar tissue formation, which compromises the native muscle structure, ultimately leading to severe functional impairment. To address such an issue, skeletal muscle tissue engineering (SMTE) attempts to fabricate in vitro bioartificial muscle tissue constructs to assist and accelerate the regeneration process. Due to its dynamic nature, SMTE strategies must employ suitable biomaterials (combined with muscle progenitors) and proper 3D architectures. In light of this, 3D fiber-based strategies are gaining increasing interest for the generation of hydrogel microfibers as advanced skeletal muscle constructs. Indeed, hydrogels possess exceptional biomimetic properties, while the fiber-shaped morphology allows for the creation of geometrical cues to guarantee proper myoblast alignment. In this review, we summarize commonly used hydrogels in SMTE and their main properties, and we discuss the first efforts to engineer hydrogels to guide myoblast anisotropic orientation. Then, we focus on presenting the main hydrogel fiber-based techniques for SMTE, including molding, electrospinning, 3D bioprinting, extrusion, and microfluidic spinning. Furthermore, we describe the effect of external stimulation (i.e., mechanical and electrical) on such constructs and the application of hydrogel fiber-based methods on recapitulating complex skeletal muscle tissue interfaces. Finally, we discuss the future developments in the application of hydrogel microfibers for SMTE.


    Marina Volpi, Alessia Paradiso, Marco Costantini, Wojciech Świȩszkowski. Hydrogel-Based Fiber Biofabrication Techniques for Skeletal Muscle Tissue Engineering. ACS biomaterials science & engineering. 2022 Feb 14;8(2):379-405

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    PMID: 35084836

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