Table of Contents
ISRN Chemical Engineering
Volume 2012, Article ID 516461, 9 pages
Research Article

Influence of Calcium Ions on Cell Survival and Proliferation in the Context of an Alginate Hydrogel

1Division of Biomedical Engineering, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N 5A9
2Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N 5A9
3Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N 5E5

Received 1 February 2012; Accepted 9 April 2012

Academic Editors: G. D'Errico and H. Domínguez

Copyright © 2012 N. Cao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


One goal of biofabrication is to incorporate living cells into artificial scaffolds in order to repair damaged tissues or organs. Although there are many studies on various biofabrication techniques, the maintenance of cell viability during the biofabrication process and cell proliferation after the process is still a challenging issue. Construction of scaffolds using hydrogels composed of natural materials can avoid exposure of cells to harsh chemicals or temperature extremes but can still entail exposure to non-physiological conditions, causing cell damage or even death. This paper presents an experimental investigation into the influence on Schwann cell survival and proliferation of calcium used for ionic crosslinking of alginate hydrogel during the biofabrication process. The experimental results obtained show the viability and proliferation capacity of cells, either suspended in cell culture medium or encapsulated in hydrogel, and vary with the calcium concentration and the time period of cells exposed to the calcium environment. The experimental results also show the alginate concentration and cell density, that have profound influence on cell survival and proliferation, and solution viscosity as well. This study suggests the incorporation of living cells in calcium-crosslinked hydrogel in the biofabrication process can be regulated for controlled cell survival and proliferation.