Biomineralized Polysaccharide Capsules for Encapsulation, Organization, and Delivery of Human Cell Types and Growth Factors


  • The authors thank Dr. Clarke Anderson (University of Kansas (USA)) for the provision of SaOS ‘Retentate', Prof. Walter Sebald (University of Würzburg (Germany)) for the provision of BMP-2, and Dr. Deborah Jackson (Institute of Medical Research, Mill Hill, London (UK)). We thank Dr. Trudy Roach (University Orthopaedics, Southampton) for assistance with confocal imaging. D. W. G., X. Y., K. P., and D. W. are supported by grants from the EPSRC and BBSRC.


The construction of biomimetic microenvironments with specific chemical and physical cues for the organization and modulation of a variety of cell populations is of key importance in tissue engineering. We show that a range of human cell types, including promyoblasts, chondrocytes, adipocytes, adenovirally transduced osteoprogenitors, immunoselected mesenchymal stem cells, and the osteogenic factor, rhBMP-2 (BMP: bone morphogenic protein), can be successfully encapsulated within mineralized polysaccharide capsules without loss of function in vivo. By controlling the extent of mineralization within the alginate/chitosan shell membrane, degradation of the shell wall and release of cells or rhBMP-2 into the surrounding medium can be regulated. In addition, we describe for the first time the ability to generate bead-in-bead capsules consisting of spatially separated cell populations and temporally separated biomolecule release, entrapped within alginate/chitosan shells of variable thickness, mineralization, and stability. Such materials offer significant potential as multifunctional scaffolds and delivery vehicles in tissue regeneration of hard and soft tissues.