Injectable thermosensitive chitosan/β-glycerophosphate/collagen hydrogel maintains the plasticity of skeletal muscle satellite cells and supports their in vivo viability


Corresponding authors: e-mail: (Jian-Zhong Xu); (Zhong Yang)


A cell carrier plays an important role in the maintenance, growth and engraftment of specific cells aimed for defined therapeutic uses in many tissue engineering strategies. A suitable microenvironment for the cells allows for the maximum efficacy of the hybrid device. We have prepared an injectable thermosensitive chitosan/β-glycerophosphate/collagen (C/GP/Co) gel and investigated its potential application as a support for the culture of skeletal muscle satellite cells (SMSCs). A cell viability assay was used to evaluate the in vitro cytocompatibility of the gel. Cell growth was assessed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) and histological analysis. The influence of the C/GP/Co gel on the plasticity of SMSCs seeded at the surface of the gel was assessed by induction of the myogenic, osteogenic and adipogenic differentiation. C/GP/Co gel provided the appropriate environment for the culture of SMSCs in vitro. In addition, the C/GP/Co gel supported SMSC plasticity. In vivo testing of the SMSC-seeded gel was investigated by subcutaneous injection into the dorsum of nude mice. Cell viability was assessed both by in vivo imaging and histological examination of the explants. In conclusion, C/GP/Co hydrogel is a cytocompatible carrier for the in vivo delivery of SMSCs and supportive for SMSC plasticity. Thus, this gel has potential applications in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.