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. 1996 May 20;50(4):374-81.
doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0290(19960520)50:4<374::AID-BIT4>3.0.CO;2-I.

Stability of Hydrogels Used in Cell Encapsulation: An in Vitro Comparison of Alginate and Agarose

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Stability of Hydrogels Used in Cell Encapsulation: An in Vitro Comparison of Alginate and Agarose

M S Shoichet et al. Biotechnol Bioeng. .

Abstract

The present studies were undertaken to evaluate the in vitro gel stability of the hydrogels alginate and agarose. Gel strength (of alginate and agarose) and protein diffusion (of alginate only) were shown to correlate with gel stability and to be useful techniques to monitor gel stability over time. The gel strengths of alginate and agarose were followed for a 90-day period using gel strength as a measure of gel stability. The gel strength of agarose diminished in the presence of cells because the cells likely interfered with the hydrogen bond formation required for agarose gelation. In the presence of cells, the gel strength of agarose decreased by an average of 25% from time 0 to 60 days, thereafter maintaining that value to 90 days. The gel strength of calcium- or barium-crosslinked alginate decreased over 90 days, with an equilibrium gel strength being achieved after 30 days. The presence of cells did not further decrease alginate gel strength. The gel strengths of calcium- and barium-crosslinked alginates were similar at 60 days-350 +/- 20 g and 300 +/- 60 g, respectively-indicating equivalence in their stability. The stability of calcium-crosslinked sodium alginate gels over a 60-day time period was monitored by diffusion of proteins ranging in molecular weight from 14.5 to 155 kD. From these diffusion measurements, the average pore size of the calcium-crosslinked alginate gels was estimated, using a semi-empirical model, to increase from approximately 176 to 289 A over a period of 60 days. (c) 1996 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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