For the first time biomedical engineers have grown living skeletal muscle in the lab that can contract as strongly as normal muscle, and can repair itself inside a living animal. The researchers implanted this lab-grown muscle into a live mouse and watched it grow through a window on the mouse’s back. Here, peeking through this portal, the many strands of muscle fibre stained different colours and viewed through a microscope can be seen. To put the muscle to the test, it was stimulated with electric pulses and the strength of each contraction was measured. It was more than 10 times stronger than any previously engineered muscle. Lab-grown muscle is now being investigated for its ability to repair diseased and injured muscles.
Written by Nick Kennedy