Bioengineering of physiologically functional intrinsically innervated human internal anal sphincter constructs

Robert R. Gilmont, Shreya Raghavan, Sita Somara, Khalil N. Bitar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Muscle replacement for patients suffering from extensive tissue loss or dysfunction is a major objective of regenerative medicine. To achieve functional status, bioengineered muscle replacement constructs require innervation. Here we describe a method to bioengineer functionally innervated gut smooth muscle constructs using neuronal progenitor cells and smooth muscle cells isolated and cultured from intestinal tissues of adult human donors. These constructs expressed markers for contractile smooth muscle, glial cells, and mature neuronal populations. The constructs responded appropriately to physiologically relevant neurotransmitters, and neural network integration was demonstrated by responses to electrical field stimulation. The ability of enteric neuroprogenitor cells to differentiate into neuronal populations provides enormous potential for functional innervation of a variety of bioengineered muscle constructs in addition to gut. Functionally innervated muscle constructs offer a regenerative medicine-based therapeutic approach for neuromuscular replacement after trauma or degenerative disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1603-1611
Number of pages9
JournalTissue Engineering - Part A
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - Jun 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering


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