Encapsulation of Equine Endothelial Colony Forming Cells in Highly Uniform, Injectable Hydrogel Microspheres for Local Cell Delivery
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article
- Auburn University
A common challenge in cell therapy is the inability to routinely maintain survival and localization of injected therapeutic cells. Delivering cells by direct injection increases the flexibility of clinical applications, but may cause low cell viability and retention rates due to the high shear forces in the needle and mechanical wash out. In this study, we encapsulated endothelial colony forming cells (ECFCs) in poly(ethylene glycol)-fibrinogen (PF) hydrogel microspheres using a custom-built microfluidic device; this system supports rapid encapsulation of high cell concentrations (10 million cells per mL) and resulting cell-laden microspheres are highly uniform in shape and size. The encapsulated ECFCs were shown to have >95% viability and continued to rapidly proliferate. Expression of cell markers (von Willebrand factor, CD105, and CD14), the ability to form tubules on basement membrane matrix, and the ability to take up low-density lipoprotein were similar between pre- and post-encapsulated cells. Viability of encapsulated ECFCs was maintained after shear through 18-23-gauge needles. Ex vivo and in vivo cell delivery studies were performed by encapsulating and injecting autologous equine ECFCs subcutaneously into distal limb full-thickness wounds of adult horses. Injected ECFCs were visualized by labeling with fluorescent nanodots before encapsulation. One week after injection, confocal microscopy analysis of biopsies of the leading edges of the wounds showed that the encapsulated ECFCs migrated into the surrounding host tissue indicating successful retention and survival of the delivered ECFCs. Rapid, scalable cell encapsulation into PF microspheres was demonstrated to be practical for use in large animal cell therapy and is a clinically relevant method to maintain cell retention and survival after local injection.
- PEG-fibrinogen, cell delivery, endothelial colony forming cell, endothelial progenitor cell, microfluidics, vascularisation, wound healing