Tissue engineering. Part A

Hydrogel Microencapsulated Insulin-Secreting Cells Increase Keratinocyte Migration, Epidermal Thickness, Collagen Fiber Density, and Wound Closure in a Diabetic Mouse Model of Wound Healing.

PMID 26239745


Wound healing is a hierarchical process of intracellular and intercellular signaling. Insulin is a potent chemoattractant and mitogen for cells involved in wound healing. Insulin's potential to promote keratinocyte growth and stimulate collagen synthesis in fibroblasts is well described. However, there currently lacks an appropriate delivery mechanism capable of consistently supplying a wound environment with insulin; current approaches require repeated applications of insulin, which increase the chances of infecting the wound. In this study, we present a novel cell-based therapy that delivers insulin to the wound area in a constant or glucose-dependent manner by encapsulating insulin-secreting cells in nonimmunogenic poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate (PEGDA) hydrogel microspheres. We evaluated cell viability and insulin secretory characteristics of microencapsulated cells. Glucose stimulation studies verified free diffusion of glucose and insulin through the microspheres, while no statistical difference in insulin secretion was observed between cells in microspheres and cells in monolayers. Scratch assays demonstrated accelerated keratinocyte migration in vitro when treated with microencapsulated cells. In excisional wounds on the dorsa of diabetic mice, microencapsulated RIN-m cells accelerated wound closure by postoperative day 7; a statistically significant increase over AtT-20ins-treated and control groups. Histological results indicated significantly greater epidermal thickness in both microencapsulated RIN-m and AtT-20ins-treated wounds. The results suggest that microencapsulation enables insulin-secreting cells to persist long enough at the wound site for a therapeutic effect and thereby functions as an effective delivery vehicle to accelerate wound healing.