The loss of functional muscle from genetic disease, traumatic injury, or surgical excisions results in a physiologic deficiency that continues to remain without an effective clinical treatment [1]. Engineering functional muscle tissue in vitro for replacement in vivo may offer a potential remedy for this clinical demand. However, in vitro muscle constructs in two- and three-dimensions have yet to fully exhibit the dynamic mechanical responses of physiological muscle [2]. Furthermore, the application of mechanical and electrical stimulation in vitro has shown promise for growing contractile tissue [3], but these have been limited to 2-D and/or rely on inhibitory scaffold techniques. For these reasons, we sought a new approach to utilize both extrinsic growth and maturation cues, in addition to the myoblasts’ innate propensity to differentiate and produce functional myotubes in vitro, for the development of clinically-relevant skeletal muscle replacements.

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