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Keywords:

  • encapsulated cells;
  • MTT assay;
  • resazurin;
  • cell viability

The mitochondria toxicity assay (MTT assay) is an established method for monitoring cell viability based on mitochondrial activity. Here the MTT assay is proposed for the in situ quantification of the living cell density of microencapsulated Jurkat cells. Three systems were used to encapsulate the cells, namely a membrane consisting of an interpenetrating polyelectrolyte network of sodium cellulose sulphate/poly(diallyldimethylammonium chloride) (NaCS/PDADMAC), a calcium alginate hydrogel covered with poly(L-lysine) (Ca-alg-PLL), and a novel calcium alginate-poly(ethylene glycol) hybrid material (Ca-alg-PEG). MTT results were correlated to data obtained by the trypan blue exclusion assay after release of the cells from the NaCS/PDADMAC and Ca-alg-PLL capsules, while a resazurin-based assay was used for comparison in case of the Ca-alg-PEG material. Analysis by MTT assay allows quick and reliable determination of viable cell densities of encapsulated cells independent of the capsule material. The assay is highly reproducible with inter-assay relative standard deviations below 10%. © 2013 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 29:986–993, 2013