Efficient One-Step Production of Microencapsulated Hepatocyte Spheroids with Enhanced Functions.


Journal Article

Hepatocyte spheroids microencapsulated in hydrogels can contribute to liver research in various capacities. The conventional approach of microencapsulating spheroids produces a variable number of spheroids per microgel and requires an extra step of spheroid loading into the gel. Here, a microfluidics technology bypassing the step of spheroid loading and controlling the spheroid characteristics is reported. Double-emulsion droplets are used to generate microencapsulated homotypic or heterotypic hepatocyte spheroids (all as single spheroids <200 μm in diameter) with enhanced functions in 4 h. The composition of the microgel is tunable as demonstrated by improved hepatocyte functions during 24 d culture (albumin secretion, urea secretion, and cytochrome P450 activity) when alginate-collagen composite hydrogel is used instead of alginate. Hepatocyte spheroids in alginate-collagen also perform better than hepatocytes cultured in collagen-sandwich configuration. Moreover, hepatocyte functions are significantly enhanced when hepatocytes and endothelial progenitor cells (used as a novel supporting cell source) are co-cultured to form composite spheroids at an optimal ratio of 5:1, which could be further boosted when encapsulated in alginate-collagen. This microencapsulated-spheroid formation technology with high yield, versatility, and uniformity is envisioned to be an enabling technology for liver tissue engineering as well as biomanufacturing.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Chan, HF; Zhang, Y; Leong, KW

Published Date

  • May 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 12 / 20

Start / End Page

  • 2720 - 2730

PubMed ID

  • 27038291

Pubmed Central ID

  • 27038291

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1613-6829

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1613-6810

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/smll.201502932


  • eng