Gelatin-based 3D microgels for in vitro T lineage cell generation

Anisha B. Suraiya, Michael L. Hun, Vinh X. Truong, John S. Forsythe, Ann P. Chidgey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


T cells are predominantly produced by the thymus and play a significant role in maintaining our adaptive immune system. Physiological involution of the thymus occurs gradually with age, compromising naive T cell output, which can have severe clinical complications. Also, T cells are utilized as therapeutic agents in cancer immunotherapies. Therefore, there is an increasing need for strategies aimed at generating naive T cells. The majority of in vitro T cell generation studies are performed in two-dimensional (2D) cultures, which ignore the physiological thymic microenvironment and are not scalable; therefore, we applied a new three-dimensional (3D) approach. Here, we use a gelatin-based 3D microgel system for T lineage induction by co-culturing OP9-DL4 cells and mouse fetal-liver-derived hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Flow cytometric analysis revealed that microgel co-cultures supported T lineage induction similar to 2D cultures while providing a 3D environment. We also encapsulated mouse embryonic thymic epithelial cells (TECs) within the microgels to provide a defined 3D culture platform. The microgel system supported TEC maintenance and retained their phenotype. Together, these data show that our microgel system has the capacity for TEC maintenance and induction of in vitro T lineage differentiation with potential for scalability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2198-2208
Number of pages11
JournalACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2020


  • Thymic epithelial cells
  • 3D co-cultures
  • T cells
  • OP9-DL4 cell line
  • Microgels
  • Cell encapsulation

Cite this