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Genetics and Molecular Biology

Print version ISSN 1415-4757On-line version ISSN 1678-4685


BRESSEL, Tatiana A.B. et al. An effective device for generating alginate microcapsules. Genet. Mol. Biol. [online]. 2008, vol.31, n.1, pp.136-140. ISSN 1415-4757.

An alternative approach to somatic gene therapy is to deliver the therapeutic protein by implanting genetically modified cells that could overexpress the gene of interest. Microencapsulation devices were designed to protect cells from host rejection and prevent the foreign cells from spreading while allowing protein secretion. Alginate microcapsules form a semi-permeable structure that is suitable for in vivo injection. In this study, we report an effective laboratory protocol for producing calcium alginate microcapsules, following optimization of uniformly shaped and sized particles containing viable cells. Encapsulation of baby hamster kidney (BHK) cells in alginate microcapsules was performed using a simple device consisting of a cylinder of compressed air and a peristaltic pump. A cell suspension flow of 100 mL h-1 and an air jet flow of 10 L min-1 produced the best uniformity of microcapsule size and shape. Cells maintained viability in culture for 4 weeks without any signs of necrosis, and protein diffusion was observed during this period. Our results clearly demonstrated that microisolation of BHK cells in alginate using a simple assembly device could provide an environment that is capable of preserving live cells. In addition, encapsulated cells under the conditions described were able to secrete an active enzyme even after four weeks, thus becoming potentially compatible with therapeutic protein delivery.

Keywords : Alginate, beads; controlled release; drug delivery; microcapsules.

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