One-Step All-Aqueous Interfacial Assembly of Robust Membranes for Long-Term Encapsulation and Culture of Adherent Stem/Stromal Cells


The therapeutic effectiveness and biological relevance of technologies based on adherent cells depend on platforms that enable long-term culture in controlled environments. Liquid-core capsules have been suggested as semipermeable moieties with spatial homogeneity due to the high mobility of all components in their core. The lack of cell-adhesive sites in liquid-core structures often hampers their use as platforms for stem cell-based technologies for long-term survival and cell-directed self-organization. Here, the one-step fast formation of robust polymeric capsules formed by interfacial complexation of oppositely charged polyelectrolytes in an all-aqueous environment, compatible with the simultaneous encapsulation of mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) and microcarriers, is described. The adhesion of umbilical cord MSCs to polymeric microcarriers enables their aggregation and culture for more than 21 days in capsules prepared either manually by dropwise addition, or by scalable electrohydrodynamic atomization, generating robust and stable capsules. Cell aggregation and secretion overtime can be tailored by providing cells with static or dynamic (bioreactor) environments.

subject category

Engineering, Biomedical; Nanoscience & Nanotechnology; Materials Science, Biomaterials


Vilabril, S; Nadine, S; Neves, CMSS; Correia, CR; Freire, MG; Coutinho, JAP; Oliveira, MB; Mano, JF

our authors


This work was supported by the European Research Council grant agreement ERC-2014-ADG-669858 for project ATLAS. It was developed within the scope of the project CICECO-Aveiro Institute of Materials, UIDB/50011/2020 and UIDP/50011/2020, financed by national funds through the FCT/MEC and when appropriate cofinanced by FEDER under the PT2020 Partnership Agreement. This work was also supported by the Programa Operacional Competitividade e InternacionalizacAo, in the component FEDER, and by national funds (OE) through FCT/MCTES, in the scope of the project TranSphera (PTDC/BTM-ORG/30770/2017). M.B.O. acknowledges the individual contract CEECIND/03605/2017. Dr. Maria Isabel Rial-Hermida is acknowledged for her support in release assays.

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