Bioengineering functional smooth muscle with spontaneous rhythmic contraction in vitro
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-31992-4
Oriented smooth muscle layers in the intestine contract rhythmically due to the action of interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) that serve as pacemakers of the intestine. Disruption of ICC networks has been reported in various intestinal motility disorders, which limit the quality and expectancy of life. A significant challenge in intestinal smooth muscle engineering is the rapid loss of function in cultured ICC and smooth muscle cells (SMC). Here we demonstrate a novel approach to maintain the function of both ICC and SMC in vitro. Primary intestinal SMC mixtures cultured on feeder cells seeded electrospun poly(3-caprolactone) scaffolds exhibited rhythmic contractions with directionality for over 10 weeks in vitro. The simplicity of this system should allow for wide usage in research on intestinal motility disorders and tissue engineering, and may prove to be a versatile platform for generating other types of functional SMC in vitro.