Understanding the signaling pathways that regulate the final differentiation of human myoblasts is essential for successful cell transplantation and drug screening for the treatment of muscular dystrophy. In an effort to improve myotube formation from hiPSC-derived myoblasts, we validated a collection of 13 small molecules in a newly established in vitro screening platform for the assessment of myotube formation. The analysis of myotube formation as measured by the fusion index showed that the combinational inhibition of the TGFβ signaling with NOTCH signaling enhances the ability of multi-nucleated myotube production. Combinational treatment of inhibitors for TGFβ and NOTCH signaling pathways improved myotube formation in a dose-dependent manner. This effect was achieved by inhibiting the combinatorial mechanism of signaling. The combination treatment of small molecules effective in inducing multinucleated myotubes was validated in healthy human primary myoblasts. In addition, it was also applied to DMD patient iPSC-derived myoblasts to enhance the generation of multinucleated myotubes.
- Duchenne muscular dystrophy
- Human pluripotent stem cell-derived skeletal muscle
- In vitro drug screening platform