Molecular analysis of muscle progenitor cells on extracellular matrix coatings and hydrogels

Joanna Palade, Amrita Pal, Alan Rawls, Sarah Stabenfeldt, Jeanne Wilson-Rawls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Development of an ex vivo culture system to expand satellite cells, the resident muscle stem cell population, will be necessary for the development of their use as therapeutics. The loss of the niche environment is often cited as the reason that culture results in both the loss of myogenic potential and low re-engraftment rates of these cells. Studies have shown that culture of satellite cells on more elastic substrates maintained their quiescence and potential and increased re-engraftment, but there was limited proliferation. We examined whether substrates composed of extracellular matrix proteins, as either coatings or hydrogels, could support expansion of this population whilst maintaining the potency of these cells. The collagen based hydrogels were very pliant and our studies demonstrate that stiffer substrates are necessary for in vitro proliferation and differentiation of satellite cells, and the ECM composition was not significantly important. Our data further indicates that culture on highly elastic substrates allowed satellite cells to down-regulate myogenic specific transcription factors, resulting in an expression profile similar to a Galert state. These satellite cells could be subsequently cultured on Matrigel and induced to differentiate. Proliferation and gene expression data further indicated that C2C12 cells are not a good proxy for studies of satellite cell proliferation and differentiation on alternative substrates. Statement of Significance: Although biomaterials and muscle stem cell-based therapeutics for muscle loss due to trauma and disease have been studied intensely for the last decade, significant challenges remain; satellite cells lose their myogenic potential after in vitro culture, and do not re-engraft efficiently when delivered to skeletal muscle. We cultured adult mouse derived satellite cells and C2C12 cells on biomimetic, extracellular matrix based, hydrogels and coated plates and carried out a detailed analysis of proliferation, differentiation, and gene expression. These studies were designed to allow for the examination of the roles of both matrix composition and elasticity. The data demonstrated that satellite cells were most affected by elasticity. Examining the expression of lineage and cell cycle specific genes provided important insight into the behavior of both cell types, and point to fundamental differences that affect the interpretation of studies aimed at understanding the in vitro requirements of muscle progenitor cells. Understanding how satellite cells respond to various biochemical and biophysical cues at the molecular level will inform future efforts to design therapeutics for muscle regeneration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)296-309
Number of pages14
JournalActa Biomaterialia
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


  • Extracellular matrix
  • Hydrogel
  • Muscle
  • Regeneration
  • Satellite cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular analysis of muscle progenitor cells on extracellular matrix coatings and hydrogels'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this