Coencapsulation of ISCs and MSCs Enhances Viability and Function of both Cell Types for Improved Wound Healing

Ayesha Aijaz, Matthew Teryek, Michael Goedken, Marianne Polunas, Ronke M. Olabisi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Introduction: We previously demonstrated that insulin secreting cells (ISCs) accelerate healing of chronic wounds, and it is known that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) also accelerate wound healing. Here, we report that the combination of both cell types coencapsulated into a synthetic hydrogel dressing accelerates chronic wound healing 3 × faster than control and 2 × faster than each cell type delivered singly. Specifically, insulin released by ISCs activates the PI3/Akt pathway, which is vital to the function and survival of MSCs. MSCs in turn improve the viability and function of ISCs. Materials and Methods: MSCs and/or rat islet tumor RIN-m cells were encapsulated into polyethylene glycol diacrylate hydrogel sheets and applied to 1 cm2 full thickness excisional wounds on the dorsa of genetically diabetic male mice (BKS.Cg-m +/+Leprdb/J) in accordance with protocols approved by the Rutgers IACUC. Encapsulated cell viability was assessed using a LIVE/DEAD® Viability/Cytotoxicity Kit. Akt phosphorylation, insulin, VEGF, and TGF-β1 secretion were assessed by ELISA. Animals were sacrificed on postoperative days 14 and 28 and wound tissue was collected for histological and western blot analysis. Results: ISC:MSC combination groups had the highest levels of every secreted product and phosphorylated Akt, and closed wounds in 14 days, ISC-only or MSC-only groups closed wounds in 28 days, control groups closed wounds in 40 days. Further, ISC:MSC groups healed without intermediate scab or scar. Conclusions: Combining MSCs with ISCs results in a more robust healing response than singly delivered cells, warranting further investigation of coencapsulation for MSC therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-493
Number of pages13
JournalCellular and Molecular Bioengineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


  • Cell encapsulation
  • Cell therapy
  • Insulin
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Microencapsulation
  • Wound healing

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