Materials science & engineering. C, Materials for biological applications

Alternative approach of cell encapsulation by Volvox spheres.

PMID 26117741


Volvox sphere is a bio-mimicking concept of a biomaterial structure design able to encapsulate chemicals, drugs and/or cells. The aim of this study was to prepare Volvox spheres encapsulating AML12 liver cells and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) via a high voltage electrostatic field system. The results demonstrated that AML12 liver cells and MSCs could be successfully encapsulated into the inner spheres and the outer sphere of the Volvox spheres. The improved cell viability of MSCs was achieved by the addition of collagen and polyethylene glycol into the preparation components of the Volvox spheres. Collagen material potentially provides extracellular matrix-like structure for cell adhesion while polyethylene glycol provides a void/loose space for permeability of metabolites. The encapsulated MSCs were able to differentiate into hepatocytes or hepatocyte-like cells and express liver cell markers including albumin, alpha feto-protein and cytokeratin 18. The encapsulated cells secreted albumin to about 140 ng on day 14. Based on these observations, we conclude that Volvox spheres can be used as an alternative approach to encapsulate multiple types of cells, here AML12 hepatocyte cell line and MSCs. Nevertheless, efforts are still needed to improve the viability of the encapsulated cells and increase the differentiation of MSCs into functional liver cells.