JAN 22, 2019 9:00 AM
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Growing muscle tissue on grooved platforms helps neurons more effectively integrate with the muscle, a requirement for engineering muscle in the lab that responds and functions like muscle in the body, University of Illinois researchers found in a new study.
Such engineered muscle with integrated nerves has applications in reconstructive and rehabilitative medicine, as well as for engineered biological machines or robots.
“With this approach, we can engineer muscle outside of the body so it can respond like muscle in the body,” said study leader Hyunjoon Kong, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering. “Usually people just culture muscle cells without neurons. It’s quite straightforward to do that. But it’s very difficult for neurons to integrate and communicate with the muscle so that it’s functional and responsive.”