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Encapsulation of pristine and silica?coated human adipose?derived mesenchymal stem cells in gelatin colloidal hydrogels for tissue engineering and bioprinting applications

Graphical Abstract and Lay SummaryStem cells can be easily encapsulated in gelatin colloidal gels without altering their viscoelastic properties and cohesiveness. These encapsulated cells are viable and metabolically active, which confirms the cytocompatible and adaptive nature of these promising matrices. Further modification of these stem cells with silica coatings provides an additional tool to enhance the functionality of these modified cell?laden gels.AbstractColloidal gels assembled from gelatin nanoparticles (GNPs) as particulate building blocks show strong promise to solve challenges in cell delivery and biofabrication, such as low cell survival and limited spatial retention. These gels offer evident advantages to facilitate cell encapsulation, but research on this topic is still limited, which hampers our understanding of the relationship between the physicochemical and biological properties of cell?laden colloidal gels. Human adipose?derived mesenchymal stem cells were successfully encapsulated in gelatin colloidal gels and evaluated their mechanical and biological performance over 7 days. The cells dispersed well within the gels without compromising gel cohesiveness, remained viable, and spread throughout the gels. Cells partially coated with silica were introduced into these gels, which increased their storage moduli and decreased their self?healing capacity after 7 days. This finding demonstrates the ability to modulate gel stiffness by incorporating cells partially coated with silica, without altering the solid content or introducing additional particles. Our work presents an efficient method for cell encapsulation while preserving gel integrity, expanding the applicability of colloidal hydrogels for tissue engineering and bioprinting. Overall, our study contributes to the design of improved cell delivery systems and biofabrication techniques.

Publication date: 25/02/2024



This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.