Photopolymerizable Materials for Cell Encapsulation

  • L. Tytgat
  • Stefan Baudis
  • H. Ottevaere
  • R. Liska
  • H. Thienpont
  • P. Dubruel
  • S. Van VlierbergheEmail author
Reference work entry
Part of the Reference Series in Biomedical Engineering book series (RSBE)


Photopolymerization of hydrogels in the presence of cells is a frequently applied technique to realize tissue engineering and regeneration due to the fact that the reaction can take place under cell-friendly physiological conditions. Photopolymerization can be subdivided into three modes, including radical, cationic, and anionic photopolymerization, according to the reactive species which are formed during initiation and propagation. However, radical photoinitiators are the only species suitable for hydrogel formation since ionic photopolymerization inevitably leads to termination of the reactive species as a result of the presence of water. Hydrogels are promising materials due to their capability to absorb large amounts of water and biological fluids without dissolving, their ability to become photopolymerized in the presence of cells, and their close resemblance to the extracellular matrix of native tissue. The present chapter aims to provide an overview of commonly applied photoinitiators as well as photopolymerizable natural and synthetic polymers which are frequently used for cell encapsulation purposes.



This work was supported in part by FWO (G008413N, G044516N, G005616N, G0F0516N, FWOKN273), BELSPO IAP Photonics@be, the Methusalem and Hercules foundations, Flanders Make, the OZR of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), and Ghent University (UGent). The work of L.Tytgat was supported by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) through a PhD grant. The work of S.Baudis was supported by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG, Project Number 849787).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Tytgat
    • 1
    • 2
  • Stefan Baudis
    • 3
  • H. Ottevaere
    • 2
  • R. Liska
    • 3
  • H. Thienpont
    • 1
    • 2
  • P. Dubruel
    • 1
  • S. Van Vlierberghe
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Polymer Chemistry and Biomaterials GroupGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Brussels Photonics (B-PHOT), Department of Applied Physics and PhotonicsVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Institute of Applied Synthetic ChemistryTechnische Universität Wien (TU Wien)ViennaAustria

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