The proper functioning of many organs and tissues containing smooth muscles greatly depends on the intricate organization of the smooth muscle cells oriented in appropriate directions. Consequently controlling the cellular orientation in three-dimensional (3D) cellular constructs is an important issue in engineering tissues of smooth muscles. However, the ability to precisely control the cellular orientation at the microscale cannot be achieved by various commonly used 3D tissue engineering building blocks such as spheroids. This paper presents the formation of coiled spring-shaped 3D cellular constructs containing circumferentially oriented smooth muscle-like cells differentiated from dedifferentiated fat (DFAT) cells. By using the cell fiber technology, DFAT cells suspended in a mixture of extracellular proteins possessing an optimized stiffness were encapsulated in the core region of alginate shell microfibers and uniformly aligned to the longitudinal direction. Upon differentiation induction to the smooth muscle lineage, DFAT cell fibers self-assembled to coiled spring structures where the cells became circumferentially oriented. By changing the initial core-shell microfiber diameter, we demonstrated that the spring pitch and diameter could be controlled. 21 days after differentiation induction, the cell fibers contained high percentages of ASMA-positive and calponin-positive cells. Our technology to create these smooth musclelike spring constructs enabled precise control of cellular alignment and orientation in 3D. These constructs can further serve as tissue engineering building blocks for larger organs and cellular implants used in clinical treatments.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)