Louis Terracio, PhD

Louis TerracioProfessor of Pediatrics
Vice Dean for Research
PhD, 1975
University of Minnesota

New York University
College of Dentistry
1036W, Weissman
345 E 24th St.
New York, NY 10010
Office Tel: (212) 998-9917
E-mail: louis.terracio@nyu.edu

Website: http://www.med.nyu.edu/biosketch/lt34#
Research Theme(s): Tissue Engineering of Skeletal Muscle Using Stem Cells
Keywords: Stem Cells, Tissue Engineering, Animal Models

Research Summary:

Loss of skeletal muscle may evolve as a consequence of a developmental anomaly or as a result of traumatic injury or surgery to remove a tumor. Structural defects that affect striated tissues range from functionally benign to profoundly debilitating. In either circumstance, the condition can affect a patient on a number of different levels. For example, structural defects to the musculature of the face may have a negligible impact on the ability of a patient to survive; yet, even minor cosmetic defects in the muscles of the face can have profound psychological implications. Defects in the structure of muscle in the arms or legs can limit mobility and greatly compromise the quality of life. An overlooked area of area of research especially for facial repair is the field of tissue engineering skeletal muscle prostheses. The long-term objective of our laboratory is to engineer a biological implant, derived from a patient’s own skeletal muscle stem cells that can be used to restore the structure and function of compromised skeletal muscle.

The initial challenges that confront those proposing to use stem cells isolated from skeletal muscle from adult humans biopsies is the need to expand the population of cells isolated from a small amount of starting tissue and while doing so, to prevent the stem cells from becoming muscle cells and from being overgrown by fibroblasts and other interstitial cells that contaminate the cultures. We will address these challenges for pigs and for humans. The next challenge is to growth stem cells on a substrate that possesses many of the characteristics of skeletal muscle and permits them to develop into a muscle-like prosthesis. This is being addressed for pigs and for humans in our lab. The rationale for using both species is two-fold.

  1. Prior to transplanting skeletal muscle prosthesis into human, it will be necessary to demonstrate feasibility in a large animal. The pig is an appropriate large animal.
  2. The composition of the extracellular matrix of the pig is similar to human and thus the pig an appropriate model to develop the basic parameters for the stem cell isolation and expansion methodology prior to refinement using human biopsies which are much more difficult to obtain.

Selected Publications: