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- Skeletal muscle tissue engineering

Tissue engineering represents a scientific approach that attempts to mimic neoorganogenesis [1]. The creation of skeletal muscle tissue using tissue engineering methods holds promise for the treatment of a variety of muscle diseases, including skeletal myopathies such as muscular dystrophy or spinal muscular atrophy [2, 3]. In addition traumatic injury, aggressive tumor ablation and prolonged denervation are common clinical situations that often result in significant loss of muscle tissue requiring subsequent surgical reconstruction. Until now, only few alternatives exist to provide functional and aesthetic restoration of lost muscle tissues aside from transfer of muscle from local or distant sites. However, this technique of free tissue transfer, although a common practice, is associated with significant donor site morbidity causing functional loss and volume deficiency. Therefore plastic and reconstructive surgery also provides a wide field of indications, in which tissue engineered skeletal muscle could be a promising approach [4] [5]. Moreover regenerating or engineering new tissues may be a potential solution for the replacement of lost, damaged or failing tissues and organs in general [1, 6]. Even though these investigations have only recently been developed those techniques attempting regeneration of human tissues have recently entered into clinical practice in the case of tissues such as skin, bone or cartilage [7–12]. However the engineering of skletal muscle tissue remains still a challenge. This article reviews some of the recent findings resulting from „tissue engineering science“ related to the differentiation of muscle tissue cells within a three dimensional environment and discusses how tissue engineering techniques could be introduced to create and to regenerate skeletal muscle tissue.

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