Injectable Stem Cell-Laden Photocrosslinkable Microspheres Fabricated Using Microfluidics for Rapid Generation of Osteogenic Tissue Constructs

Xin Zhao, Shen Liu, Lara Yildirimer, Hong Zhao, Ruihua Ding, Huanan Wang, Wenguo Cui, David Weitz

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

225 Citations (Scopus)


KGaA, Weinheim. Direct injection is a minimally invasive method of stem cell transplantation for numerous injuries and diseases. However, despite its promising potential, its clinical translation is difficult due to the low cell retention and engraftment after injection. With high versatility, high-resolution control and injectability, microfabrication of stem-cell laden biomedical hydrogels holds great potential as minimally invasive technology. Herein, a strategy of microfluidics-assisted technology entrapping bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) and growth factors in photocrosslinkable gelatin (GelMA) microspheres to ultimately generate injectable osteogenic tissue constructs is presented. Additionally, it is demonstrated that the GelMA microspheres can sustain stem cell viability, support cell spreading inside the microspheres and migration from the interior to the surface as well as enhance cell proliferation. This finding shows that encapsulated cells have the potential to directly and actively participate in the regeneration process. Furthermore, it is found that BMSCs encapsulated in GelMA microspheres show enhanced osteogenesis in vitro and in vivo, associated with a significant increase in mineralization. In short, the proposed strategy can be utilized to facilitate bone regeneration with minimum invasiveness, and can potentially be applied along with other matrices for extended applications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2809-2819
Number of pages11
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells
  • microfluidics
  • microspheres
  • osteogenesis
  • photocrosslinkable gelatin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrochemistry

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