Fibrous hydrogel scaffolds have recently attracted increasing attention for tissue engineering applications. While a number of approaches have been proposed for fabricating microfibers, it remains difficult for current methods to produce materials that meet the essential requirements of being simple, flexible and bio-friendly. It is especially challenging to prepare cell-laden microfibers which have different structures to meet the needs of various applications using a simple device. In this study, we developed a facile two-flow microfluidic system, through which cell-laden hydrogel microfibers with various structures could be easily prepared in one step. Aiming to meet different tissue engineering needs, several types of microfibers with different structures, including single-layer, double-layer and hollow microfibers, have been prepared using an alginate-methacrylated gelatin composite hydrogel by merely changing the inner and outer fluids. Cell-laden single-layer microfibers were obtained by subsequently seeding mouse embryonic osteoblast precursor cells (MC3T3-E1) cells on the surface of the as-prepared microfibers. Cell-laden double-layer and hollow microfibers were prepared by directly encapsulating MC3T3-E1 cells or human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) in the cores of microfibers upon their fabrication. Prominent proliferation of cells happened in all cell-laden single-layer, double-layer and hollow microfibers, implying potential applications for them in tissue engineering.
- tissue engineering