Mechanical strength of cell-enclosing capsules governs the success of the transplantation of enclosed cells in vivo for cell therapy. Mechanical strength closely correlates with the concentration and molecular weight of the polymers present in the aqueous solution that end up in the capsules, and the viscosity of the aqueous polymer solution also depends on these two factors. Three aqueous solutions differing in viscosity (1.0, 36, and 194 mPa s) were extruded from a needle (300 μm inner diameter) at a velocity of 1.2 cm/s into an ambient co-flowing liquid paraffin laminar stream. Smaller droplets were obtained from a higher viscous solution. At a liquid paraffin velocity of 23.5 cm/s, the diameter of droplets obtained from the highest viscous solution (194 mPa s)) was 44 ± 4 μm, and it represented 40% and 20% of that from droplets in solutions of 36 and 1.0 mPa s viscosity, respectively. The cells enclosed in these droplets maintained more than 95% viability during the droplet breakup process independent of the viscosity of the aqueous solution (p > 0.50). In addition, retrieved cells from the droplets showed the same proliferation profiles as the cells that were not subjected to the droplet breakup process, on tissue culture dishes (p > 0.13).
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