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Calcium-Alginate Hydrogel-Encapsulated Fibroblasts Provide Sustained Release of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Nicola Hunt, Professor Deborah HendersonORCiD


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Vascularization of engineered or damaged tissues is essential to maintain cell viability and proper tissue function. Revascularization of the left ventricle (LV) of the heart after myocardial infarction is particularly important, since hypoxia can give rise to chronic heart failure due to inappropriate remodeling of the LV after death of cardiomyocytes (CMs). Fibroblasts can express vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which plays a major role in angiogenesis and also acts as a chemoattractant and survival factor for CMs and cardiac progenitors. In this in vitro model study, mouse NIH 3T3 fibroblasts encapsulated in 2% w/v Ca-alginate were shown to remain viable for 150 days. Semiquantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry demonstrated that over 21 days of encapsulation, fibroblasts continued to express VEGF, while enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay showed that there was sustained release of VEGF from the Ca-alginate during this period. The scaffold degraded gradually over the 21 days, without reduction in volume. Cells released from the Ca-alginate at 7 and 21 days as a result of scaffold degradation were shown to retain viability, to adhere to fibronectin in a normal manner, and continue to express VEGF, demonstrating their potential to further contribute to maintenance of cardiac function after scaffold degradation. This model in vitro study therefore demonstrates that fibroblasts encapsulated in Ca-alginate provide sustained release of VEGF.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hunt NC, Shelton RM, Henderson DJ, Grover LM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Tissue Engineering Part A

Year: 2013

Volume: 19

Issue: 7-8

Pages: 905-914

Print publication date: 07/12/2012

ISSN (print): 1937-3341

ISSN (electronic): 1937-335X

Publisher: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Publishers


DOI: 10.1089/ten.tea.2012.0197

PubMed id: 23082964


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Funder referenceFunder name
Birmingham Science City Advanced Materials 2, Biotechnology
Newcastle Science city
British Heart Foundation
BBG0223561Biological Sciences Research
NMP4-SL-2009-228844 (NanobioTouch)Commission of the European Union