Patient-Specific Hydrogel Based Microencapsulation for Cell Delivery

Idan Gal 1 Matan Rotenberg 2 Michael Namestnikov 1 Assaf Shapira 1 Tal Dvir 1,2,3,4
1George S. Wise Faculty of Life Science, Tel Aviv University, Israel
2Faculty of engineering,Tel Aviv University, Israel
3Tel Aviv University, Israel
4Tel Aviv University, Israel

Cardiac tissue engineering approaches for treating myocardial infarction include cardiac cells encapsulation within hydrogels. Hydrogels provide mechanical support to the cells, improve the accumulation and retention of cells in the scar tissue and can potentially mimic the chemical and physical nature of the native extracellular matrix (ECM). However, the main hindrance of encapsulating cells in a bulk hydrogel is the lack of homogenous microenvironment inside the material, leading to a concentration gradient of oxygen and nutrients between the brim and the core. This, in turn, might result in heterogeneous morphology of the engineered tissue and cell death in the hydrogel core. Therefore, we hypothesize that delivery of cardiomyocytes (CMs), microencapsulated in patient-specific omentum-derived hydrogel droplets, could overcome this challenge. To this end, oxygen diffusion modelling was performed for the comparison between a bulky hydrogel and the micro-droplets system. Moreover, a microfluidic device for encapsulation of neonatal CMs and iPSCs derived CMs was designed, enabling the control of the droplets’ size by regulating the dispersed and continuous phase velocities. The generated droplets were then characterized for their size distribution, encapsulated cells viability, morphology and functionality.

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