The MagneTissue bioreactor – How to exercise your muscle cells

When it comes to the impact of meat consumption on global warming, in vitro meat is getting more and more attention. The muscle tissue derived from cell cultures is ecologically friendly taking up less land and water and causing less greenhouse gases in its production than meat derived from traditional farming.

The Austrian TV show Science Busters dealt with the topic of in vitro meat in an episode that aired on February 27th, 2018. It presented a “gym for muscle cells”: the MagneTissue bioreactor, developed by the University of Applied Sciences Technikum Wien in collaboration with the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Experimental and Clinical Traumatology. Within the bioreactor myoblasts grow on fibrin rings which are connected to a dynamic device inside the incubator (made from Legos). Regular exercise ensures the formation of high quality muscle tissue.

With kind permission of the ORF, you can review the episode here (German only).

Of course the primary idea behind the MagneTissue bioreactor is its potential for tissue regeneration. It was built for the rapid engineering of skeletal muscle-like constructs with the aim to resemble native muscle in terms of structure, gene expression profile and maturity. In a study from 2015 published in Acta Biomaterialia the authors describe the importance of applying mechanical stimulation in the maturation process of the constructs and underline the role of mechanotransduction in myogenesis.