Pancreatic cell immobilization in alginate beads produced by emulsion and internal gelation

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Biotechnology and Bioengineering (Impact Factor: 4.16). 02/2011; 108(2):424-34. DOI: 10.1002/bit.22959
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Alginate has been used to protect transplanted pancreatic islets from immune rejection and as a matrix to increase the insulin content of islet progenitor cells. The throughput of alginate bead generation by the standard extrusion and external gelation method is limited by the rate of droplet formation from nozzles. Alginate bead generation by emulsion and internal gelation is a scaleable alternative that has been used with biological molecules and microbial cells, but not mammalian cells. We describe the novel adaptation of this process to mammalian cell immobilization. After optimization, the emulsion process yielded 90 ± 2% mouse insulinoma 6 (MIN6) cell survival, similar to the extrusion process. The MIN6 cells expanded at the same rate in both bead types to form pseudo-islets with increased glucose stimulation index compared to cells in suspension. The emulsion process was suitable for primary pancreatic exocrine cell immobilization, leading to 67 ± 32 fold increased insulin expression after 10 days of immobilized culture. Due to the scaleability and broad availability of stirred mixers, the emulsion process represents an attractive option for laboratories that are not equipped with extrusion-based cell encapsulators, as well as for the production of immobilized or encapsulated cellular therapeutics on a clinical scale.

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