Gelatin Microspheres as Vehicle for Cardiac Progenitor Cells Delivery to the Myocardium

Dries A M Feyen, Roberto Gaetani, Janine Deddens, Daniëlle van Keulen, Chantal van Opbergen, Michelle Poldervaart, Jacqueline Alblas, Steven Chamuleau, Linda W. van Laake, Pieter A. Doevendans, Joost P.G. Sluijter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Inadequate cell retention and survival in cardiac stem cell therapy seems to be reducing the therapeutic effect of the injected stem cells. In order to ameliorate their regenerative effects, various biomaterials are being investigated for their potential supportive properties. Here, gelatin microspheres (MS) are utilized as microcarriers to improve the delivery and therapeutic efficacy of cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) in the ischemic myocardium. The gelatin MS, generated from a water-in-oil emulsion, are able to accommodate the attachment of CPCs, thereby maintaining their cardiogenic potential. In a mouse model of myocardial infarction, we demonstrated the ability of these microcarriers to substantially enhance cell engraftment in the myocardium as indicated by bioluminescent imaging and histological analysis. However, despite an observed tenfold increase in CPC numbers in the myocardium, echocardiography, and histology reveals that mice treated with MS-CPCs show marginal improvement in cardiac function compared to CPCs only. Overall, a straightforward and translational approach is developed to increase the retention of stem cells in the ischemic myocardium. Even though the current biomaterial setup with CPCs as cell source does not translate into improved therapeutic action, coupling this developed technology with stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes can lead to an effective remuscularization therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1071-1079
Number of pages9
JournalAdvanced Healthcare Materials
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2016


  • Biomaterials
  • Cardiac progenitor cells
  • Cell therapy
  • Delivery
  • Engraftment
  • Microspheres


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