Layered PEGDA hydrogel for islet of Langerhans encapsulation and improvement of vascularization

Giulia Marchioli, Lisa Zellner, Catarina Oliveira, Marten A Engelse, Eelco de Koning, Joao Mano, Marcel Karperien, Aart van Apeldoorn, Lorenzo Moroni

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Islets of Langerhans need to maintain their round morphology and to be fast revascularized after transplantation to preserve functional insulin secretion in response to glucose stimulation. For this purpose, a non-cell-adhesive environment is preferable for their embedding. Conversely, nutrient and oxygen supply to islets is guaranteed by capillary ingrowth within the construct and this can only be achieved in a matrix that provides adhesion cues for cells. In this study, two different approaches are explored, which are both based on a layered architecture, in order to combine these two opposite requirements. A non-adhesive islet encapsulation layer is based on polyethyleneglycole diacrylate (PEGDA). This first layer is combined with a second hydrogel based on thiolated-gelatin, thiolated-heparin and thiolated-hyaluronic acid providing cues for endothelial cell adhesion and acting as a growth factor releasing matrix. In an alternative approach, a conformal PEGDA coating is covalently applied on the surface of the islets. The coated islets are subsequently embedded in the previously mentioned hydrogel containing thiolated glycosaminoglycans. The suitability of this approach as a matrix for controlled growth factor release has been demonstrated by studying the controlled release of VEGF and bFGF for 14 days. Preliminary tube formation has been quantified on the growth factor loaded hydrogels. This approach should facilitate blood vessel ingrowth towards the embedded islets and maintain islet round morphology and functionality upon implantation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195
JournalJournal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2017


  • Journal Article


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