Alginate hydrogels have been widely used in stem cell cultures due to their biocompatibility, malleable nature, high water content, enhanced mass transport properties, and their functionalization with bioactive molecules providing cues that modulate cell proliferation and differentiation. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are extensively utilized in clinical cellular therapies because of their differentiation efficiency, their immunosuppressive properties, and them not being tumorigenic when implanted in vivo. MSCs are isolated from numerous fetal and adult tissues, suitable for both autologous and allogeneic applications. Consequently, alginate hydrogels/MSCs have been applied in vivo for the treatment of a wide variety of musculoskeletal, cardiac, neural, and endocrine disorders. This chapter will review the use of alginate hydrogels (physical properties and functionalization) for MSC culture in vitro (various culture systems) and the application of alginate/MSC implants (animal models and human applications) for cellular therapy purposes in vivo.
Part of the book: Alginates