Alginate micro-encapsulation of mesenchymal stromal cells enhances modulation of the neuro-inflammatory response

Elizabeth C. Stucky, Rene S. Schloss, Martin L. Yarmush, David I. Shreiber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations


Background aims: Modulation of inflammation after brain trauma is a key therapeutic goal aimed at limiting the consequences of the subsequent injury cascade. Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) have been demonstrated to dynamically regulate the inflammatory environment in several tissue systems, including the central nervous system. There has been limited success, however, with the use of direct implantation of cells in the brain caused by low viability and engraftment at the injury site. To circumvent this, we encapsulated MSCs in alginate microspheres and evaluated the ability of these encapsulated MSCs to attenuate inflammation in rat organotypic hippocampal slice cultures (OHSC). Methods: OHSC were administered lipopolysaccharide to induce inflammation and immediately co-cultured with encapsulated or monolayer human MSCs. After 24 h, culture media was assayed for the pro-inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) produced by OHSC, as well as MSC-produced trophic mediators. Results: Encapsulated MSCs reduced TNF-α more effectively than did monolayer MSCs. Additionally, there was a strong correlation between increased prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and reduction of TNF-α. In contrast to monolayer MSCs, inflammatory signals were not required to stimulate PGE2 production by encapsulated MSCs. Further encapsulation-stimulated changes were revealed in a multiplex panel analyzing 27 MSC-produced cytokines and growth factors, from which additional mediators with strong correlations to TNF-α levels were identified. Conclusions: These results suggest that alginate encapsulation of MSCs may not only provide an improved delivery vehicle for transplantation but may also enhance MSC therapeutic benefit for treating neuro-inflammation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1353-1364
Number of pages12
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Transplantation
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Cell Biology
  • Immunology


  • Co-culture
  • Inflammation mediators
  • Mesenchymal stromal cells
  • Organ culture
  • Traumatic brain injury

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