Cell sheets harvested from temperature-responsive cell culture dishes (TRDs) has attracted considerable attention as effective tools for reconstructing the lost functions of tissues and organs in the regenerative medicine field. However, because of their thinness, handling problems sometimes arise when transferring cell sheets from a TRD to a target surface. In this study, we developed a facile cell transfer method referred to as in situ gelation by using both gelatin hydrogel and a support membrane. Gelation and low-temperature processes were simultaneously performed on TRD. Confluent cultured cells were efficiently harvested from TRD in less than 5 min by decreasing the incubation temperature to 20°C. Harvested cells were found to maintain their cell viability, extracellular matrix, and original shape, thus allowing transfer of the cells to another surface with a short incubation time at 37°C. This method is applicable for various cell types regardless of the formation of tight cell-cell junctions. In addition, because of the high flexibility of the gelatin-coated membrane, cells were efficiently transferred to the surface of a mouse subcutis and liver. When compared with conventional cell sheet manipulation methods, the interaction between the cell surface and membrane was reinforced by the uniformly formed gelatin gel layer without using a special device. Therefore, the in situ gelation method is a promising technique for cell sheet-based tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
Keywords: cell manipulation; cell sheet; gelatin hydrogel; tissue engineering; transplantation.
© 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.