Neo-innervation of a bioengineered intestinal smooth muscle construct around chitosan scaffold

Elie Zakhem, Shreya Raghavan, Khalil N. Bitar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Neuromuscular disorders of the gut result in disturbances in gastrointestinal transit. The objective of this study was to evaluate the neo-innervation of smooth muscle in an attempt to restore lost innervation. We have previously shown the potential use of composite chitosan scaffolds as support for intestinal smooth muscle constructs. However, the constructs lacked neuronal component. Here, we bioengineered innervated colonic smooth muscle constructs using rabbit colon smooth muscle and enteric neural progenitor cells. We also bioengineered smooth muscle only tissue constructs using colonic smooth muscle cells. The constructs were placed next to each other around tubular chitosan scaffolds and left in culture. Real time force generation conducted on the intrinsically innervated smooth muscle constructs showed differentiated functional neurons. The bioengineered smooth muscle only constructs became neo-innervated. The neo-innervation results were confirmed by immunostaining assays. Chitosan supported (1) the differentiation of neural progenitor cells in the constructs and (2) the neo-innervation of non-innervated smooth muscle around the same scaffold.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1882-1889
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • Chitosan
  • Enteric neural progenitor cells
  • Force generation
  • Neo-innervation
  • Smooth muscle constructs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


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