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Biomed Mater. 2012 Apr;7(2):024108. doi: 10.1088/1748-6041/7/2/024108. Epub 2012 Mar 29.

Critical factors affecting cell encapsulation in superporous hydrogels.

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Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences, University of Illinois, 833 South Wood Street (MC 865), Chicago, IL 60612-7231, USA.


We recently showed that superporous hydrogel (SPH) scaffolds promote long-term stem cell viability and cell driven mineralization when cells were seeded within the pores of pre-fabricated SPH scaffolds. The possibility of cell encapsulation within the SPH matrix during its fabrication was further explored in this study. The impact of each chemical component used in SPH fabrication and each step of the fabrication process on cell viability was systematically examined. Ammonium persulfate, an initiator, and sodium bicarbonate, the gas-generating compound, were the two components having significant toxicity toward encapsulated cells at the concentrations necessary for SPH fabrication. Cell survival rates were 55.7% ± 19.3% and 88.8% ± 9.4% after 10 min exposure to ammonium persulfate and sodium bicarbonate solutions, respectively. In addition, solution pH change via the addition of sodium bicarbonate had significant toxicity toward encapsulated cells with cell survival of only 50.3% ± 2.5%. Despite toxicity of chemical components and the SPH fabrication method, cells still exhibited significant overall survival rates within SPHs of 81.2% ± 6.8% and 67.0% ± 0.9%, respectively, 48 and 72 h after encapsulation. This method of cell encapsulation holds promise for use in vitro and in vivo as a scaffold material for both hydrogel matrix encapsulation and cell seeding within the pores.

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