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Journal of Neural Transplantation and Plasticity
Volume 3 (1992), Issue 2-3, Pages 115-124

Microencapsulated Bovine Chromaffin Cells In Vitro: Effect of Density and Coseeding with a NGF-Releasing Cell Line

1Artificial Organ Laboratory, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA
2Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology, University of Illinois, IL 60612, USA
3Cytotherapeutics Inc., 4 Richmond Sq., Providence, RI 02906, USA

Copyright © 1992 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. 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.


Immobilization of discrete cell clusters within a partially crosslinked matrix prevents reaggregation of primary tissues and may provide a means for long-term maintenance of encapsulated cells. Dissociated bovine adrenal chromaffin (BAC) cells were suspended throughout crosslinked polyanionic microspheres previously shown to be selectively permeable. Microcapsules approximately 500 µm in diameter were seeded with: 1) three different densities of BAC cells; and 2) BAC cells suspended in Matrigel® or coseeded with a genetically modified nerve growth factor (NGF)- releasing fibroblast cell line. Each group was analyzed in vitro at 1, 4 and 8 weeks for spontaneous and potassium-evoked release of catecholamines, and maintained in vitro for up to 12 weeks for morphological observations. Over time, release of norepinephrine (NE) and epinephrine (EPI) diminished, while dopamine (DA) remained constant from the monoseeded capsules. In the coseeded group, an increase in potassium-evoked release of DA was observed from 1 to 4 weeks, and remained at that level up to 8 weeks. Encapsulated chromaffin cells retained a rounded morphology typical of undifferentiated cells. Intact chromaffin cells with well preserved and abundant secretory granules were observed ultrastructurally after 4 weeks in vitro. Small neurites from the chromaffin cells in the coseeded group were observed at 4 weeks with light microscopy, and up to 12 weeks with electron microscopy. Under static incubation conditions, 1 mM D-amphetamine resulted in a significant increase in the output of NE and DA from the coseeded capsules 8 weeks postimplantation, as compared to microcapsules loaded with chromaffin cells alone. Encapsulation within an immobilization matrix allows manipulation of the internal environment, thereby providing the ability to pre-treat cells with various factors in a non-invasive manner, which may enhance long-term cellular viability.