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Injectable polyethylene glycol-fibrinogen hydrogel adjuvant improves survival and differentiation of transplanted mesoangioblasts in acute and chronic skeletal-muscle degeneration

Claudia Fuoco1, Maria Lavinia Salvatori1, Antonella Biondo2, Keren Shapira-Schweitzer3, Sabrina Santoleri2, Stefania Antonini4, Sergio Bernardini1, Francesco Saverio Tedesco24, Stefano Cannata1*, Dror Seliktar3, Giulio Cossu24* and Cesare Gargioli15*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biology, Tor Vergata Rome University, Rome, Italy

2 Division of Regenerative Medicine, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy

3 Faculty of Biomedical Engineering, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

4 Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, UCL, London, UK

5 IRCCS MultiMedica, Milan, Italy

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Skeletal Muscle 2012, 2:24  doi:10.1186/2044-5040-2-24

Published: 26 November 2012



Cell-transplantation therapies have attracted attention as treatments for skeletal-muscle disorders; however, such research has been severely limited by poor cell survival. Tissue engineering offers a potential solution to this problem by providing biomaterial adjuvants that improve survival and engraftment of donor cells.


In this study, we investigated the use of intra-muscular transplantation of mesoangioblasts (vessel-associated progenitor cells), delivered with an injectable hydrogel biomaterial directly into the tibialis anterior (TA) muscle of acutely injured or dystrophic mice. The hydrogel cell carrier, made from a polyethylene glycol-fibrinogen (PF) matrix, is polymerized in situ together with mesoangioblasts to form a resorbable cellularized implant.


Mice treated with PF and mesoangioblasts showed enhanced cell engraftment as a result of increased survival and differentiation compared with the same cell population injected in aqueous saline solution.


Both PF and mesoangioblasts are currently undergoing separate clinical trials: their combined use may increase chances of efficacy for localized disorders of skeletal muscle.

Stem cells; Mesoangioblasts; Hydrogel; Muscular dystrophy; Muscle regeneration; Cell therapy; Tissue engineering