Cell encapsulation in hydrogels or microcapsules is one of the approaches for providing a biomimetic microenvironment to support cell survival, proliferation and functions. Microcapsules in particular have been used to improve the mass transport properties and ease of delivery through injection. More importantly, the microenvironment in hydrogels or hydrogel microcapsules can be tailored by incorporation of relevant adhesion molecules and growth factors through chemical conjugation and physical encapsulation. These functionalized hydrogels have been shown to effectively influence cell adhesion, proliferation and differentiation. In this study, we describe the preparation and characterization of a novel hydrogel fiber by polyelectrolyte complexation. This unique fiber geometry can be useful for regeneration of cylindrical tissues and for coculture of two different cell types inside and outside the fiber membrane.

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