Glucose Uptake and Insulin Response in Tissue-engineered Human Skeletal Muscle.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Tissue-engineered muscles ("myobundles") offer a promising platform for developing a human in vitro model of healthy and diseased muscle for drug development and testing. Compared to traditional monolayer cultures, myobundles better model the three-dimensional structure of native skeletal muscle and are amenable to diverse functional measures to monitor the muscle health and drug response. Characterizing the metabolic function of human myobundles is of particular interest to enable their utilization in mechanistic studies of human metabolic diseases, identification of related drug targets, and systematic studies of drug safety and efficacy.


To this end, we studied glucose uptake and insulin responsiveness in human tissue-engineered skeletal muscle myobundles in the basal state and in response to drug treatments.


In the human skeletal muscle myobundle system, insulin stimulates a 50% increase in 2-deoxyglucose (2-DG) uptake with a compiled EC50 of 0.27 ± 0.03 nM. Treatment of myobundles with 400 µM metformin increased basal 2-DG uptake 1.7-fold and caused a significant drop in twitch and tetanus contractile force along with decreased fatigue resistance. Treatment with the histone deacetylase inhibitor 4-phenylbutyrate (4-PBA) increased the magnitude of insulin response from a 1.2-fold increase in glucose uptake in the untreated state to a 1.4-fold increase after 4-PBA treatment. 4-PBA treated myobundles also exhibited increased fatigue resistance and increased twitch half-relaxation time.


Although tissue-engineered human myobundles exhibit a modest increase in glucose uptake in response to insulin, they recapitulate key features of in vivo insulin sensitivity and exhibit relevant drug-mediated perturbations in contractile function and glucose metabolism.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Kondash, ME; Ananthakumar, A; Khodabukus, A; Bursac, N; Truskey, GA

Published Date

  • December 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 17 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 801 - 813

PubMed ID

  • 32200516

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC7710786

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2212-5469

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1738-2696

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s13770-020-00242-y


  • eng