Coating Bioactive Microcapsules with Tannic Acid Enhances the Phenotype of the Encapsulated Pluripotent Stem Cells

Daheui Choi, Kihak Gwon, Hye Jin Hong, Harihara Baskaran, Olalla Calvo-Lozano, Alan M. Gonzalez-Suarez, Kyungtae Park, Jose M. De Hoyos-Vega, Laura M. Lechuga, Jinkee Hong, Gulnaz Stybayeva, Alexander Revzin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) may be differentiated into any adult cell type and therefore hold incredible promise for cell therapeutics and disease modeling. There is increasing interest in three-dimensional (3D) hPSC culture because of improved differentiation outcomes and potential for scale up. Our team has recently described bioactive heparin (Hep)-containing core-shell microcapsules that promote rapid aggregation of stem cells into spheroids and may also be loaded with growth factors for the local and sustained delivery to the encapsulated cells. In this study, we explored the possibility of further modulating bioactivity of microcapsules through the use of an ultrathin coating composed of tannic acid (TA). Deposition of the TA film onto model substrates functionalized with Hep and poly(ethylene glycol) was characterized by ellipsometry and atomic force microscopy. Furthermore, the presence of the TA coating was observed to increase the amount of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) incorporation by up to twofold and to extend its release from 5 to 7 days. Most significantly, TA-microcapsules loaded with bFGF induced higher levels of pluripotency expression compared to uncoated microcapsules containing bFGF. Engineered microcapsules described here represent a new stem cell culture approach that enables 3D cultivation and relies on local delivery of inductive cues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27274-27286
Number of pages13
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number23
StatePublished - Jun 15 2022


  • 3D stem cell cultures
  • controlled growth factor release
  • heparin-based microcapsules
  • microfluidics
  • nanofilm
  • tannic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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