Redesigning of 3-Dimensional Vascular-Muscle Structure Using ADSCs/HUVECs Co-Culture and VEGF on Engineered Skeletal Muscle ECM

Document Type : Original Article


1 Cellular and Molecular Research Center, Medical Basic Sciences Research Institute, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran

2 Department of Anatomical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran


Objective: The main objective of this study is to determine the myogenic effects of skeletal muscle extracellular matrix, vascular endothelial growth factor and human umbilical vein endothelial cells on adipose-derived stem cells to achieve a 3-dimensional engineered vascular-muscle structure.
Materials and Methods: The present experimental research was designed based on two main groups, i.e. monoculture
of adipose tissue-derived stem cells (ADSCs) and co-culture of ADSCs and human umbilical vein endothelial cells ( HUVECs) in a ratio of 1:1. Skeletal muscle tissue was isolated, decellularized and its surface was electrospun using polycaprolactone/gelatin parallel nanofibers and then matrix topography was evaluated through H&E, trichrome staining and SEM. The expression of MyHC2 gene and tropomyosin protein were examined through real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and immunofluorescence, respectively. Finally, the morphology of mesenchymal and endothelial cells and their relationship with each other and with the engineered scaffold were examined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM).
Results: According to H&E and Masson’s Trichrome staining, muscle tissue was completely decellularized. SEM showed parallel Polycaprolactone (PCL)/gelatin nanofibers with an average diameter of about 300 nm. The immunofluorescence proved that tropomyosin was positive in the ADSCs monoculture and the ADSCs/HUVECs coculture in horse serum (HS) and HS/VEGF groups. There was a significant difference in the expression of the MyHC2 gene between the ADSCs and ADSCs/HUVECs culture groups (P<0.05) and between the 2D and 3D models in HS/ VEGF differentiation groups (P<001). Moreover, a significant increase existed between the HS/VEGF group and other groups in terms of endothelial cells growth and proliferation as well as their relationship with differentiated myoblasts (P<0.05).
Conclusion: Co-culture of ADSCs/HUVECs on the engineered cell-free muscle scaffold and the dual effects of VEGF can lead to formation of a favorable engineered vascular-muscular tissue. These engineered structures can be used as an acceptable tool for tissue implantation in muscle injuries and regeneration, especially in challenging injuries such as volumetric muscle loss, which also require vascular repair.