Confined Sandwichlike Microenvironments Tune Myogenic Differentiation

Sandwichlike (SW) cultures are engineered as a multilayer technology to simultaneously stimulate dorsal and ventral cell receptors, seeking to mimic cell adhesion in three-dimensional (3D) environments in a reductionist manner. The effect of this environment on cell differentiation was investigated for several cell types cultured in standard growth media, which promotes proliferation on two-dimensional (2D) surfaces and avoids any preferential differentiation. First, murine C2C12 myoblasts showed specific myogenic differentiation. Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) of adipose and bone marrow origin, which can differentiate toward a wider variety of lineages, showed again myodifferentiation. Overall, this study shows myogenic differentiation in normal growth media for several cell types under SW conditions, avoiding the use of growth factors and cytokines, i.e., solely by culturing cells within the SW environment. Mechanistically, it provides further insights into the balance between integrin adhesion to the dorsal substrate and the confinement imposed by the SW system.